To examine improvisation training on Ob/Gyn resident empathy
Physician empathy is associated with improved patient outcomes. Empathy training is effective in physicians, and many models exist. However, no studies have examined whether the improvements are sustained over time. Our primary aim is to determine whether an improv workshop is an effective tool to deliver empathy training. Our secondary aim is to determine whether that effect is sustained over time.
This is a prospective study of Ob/Gyn residents. Validated empathy surveys were administered 1 week prior to empathy training, immediately after training and 1 month later. Improv games were used in conjunction with empathy training during the intervention. Paired t-tests and McNemar’s were used to compare statistical differences at each post-intervention assessment compared to pre-intervention.
22 residents participated. Empathy scores increased immediately after training (mean=113 vs 120, p=0.03), but were not sustained 1 month later (mean=113 vs 117, p=0.11). Residents reported that the workshop positively impacted their delivery of care both immediately (mean=3.5 vs 4.6, p<0.001) and 1 month later (mean=3.5 vs 4.1, p=0.04).
Using improv comedy to delivery empathy training is associated with improved empathy scores in Ob/Gyn residents, but this improvement gravitates back to baseline over time. Residents report that the improv workshop was effective at improving empathy, even up to one month later.