In virtual care, bedside manner matters

Written by:
Dr. Geoffrey W. Rutledge
Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder
Last updated on January 3, 2022

Good physician communication skills rank high among surveyed patients

HealthTap doctors have long known that one of the most effective ways to build strong rapport with patients is to begin each visit by carefully listening to their questions and concerns. Now, a patient satisfaction study has confirmed the importance of great bedside manner during virtual visits.

The study surveyed 440 telemedicine patients to examine patient satisfaction in four areas:

  1. Patient-centered care (i.e., bedside manner), such as showing empathy and compassion, and communicating assurance .

  2. Patient perceptions of the health benefits of the care received.

  3. Monetary costs.

  4. Non-monetary costs.

The study found that bedside manner was the leading factor in patient satisfaction, demonstrating the strong value people place on their doctor’s communication skills. Notably, the costs of the visit did not have a significant effect on patient satisfaction. 

These findings underscore what HealthTap has known all along: During virtual consultations, a doctor who actively listens to patients, takes time to answer questions, and validates their concerns will build a stronger doctor-patient relationship, which can lead to better health outcomes.

As virtual care grows in popularity, it’s reassuring that bedside manner — the foundation of people’s relationships with their doctors — has such a powerful impact on creating a positive care experience for the patient.

Dr. Geoffrey W. Rutledge

Dr. Geoffrey W. Rutledge

Chief Medical Officer and Co-founder
Geoffrey W. Rutledge MD, PhD, FACMI, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder at HealthTap, is a double-board certified physician who practiced and taught medicine for more than 25 years. He earned a PhD in medical computer science from Stanford, was an NIH-funded researcher, and served on faculty at Harvard, Stanford, and UCSD medical schools. Before HealthTap, he created the first consumer health website and PHR at Healtheon/WebMD. Learn more about HealthTap's Medical Editorial Board at https://www.healthtap.com/about-doctors/
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