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Why Having Empathy is Important in Healthcare

It’s been said that a healthcare professional’s ability to demonstrate empathy is a key driver in patient satisfaction. Professional empathy is linked to better adherence to medications, decreased malpractice cases, fewer mistakes, and increased patient satisfaction.

Until recently, experts believed empathy, like being an introvert or extrovert, was an inherent trait. But, surprisingly, empathy is something that can be learned. And that is great news for healthcare institutions. Regardless of where staff members are on the empathy scale, allowing them to practice and expand their empathy skills is a win-win for everyone involved.

First, a level set. What is Empathy?

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It involves putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, imagining what they are going through, and responding with compassion and understanding. Empathy is essential for anyone who works with people, but it is particularly important in healthcare customer service.

Strategies for Developing Empathy in Healthcare Customer Service Professionals

Developing empathy in healthcare customer service professionals requires a combination of training, support, and ongoing practice.

Here are some strategies for developing empathy in healthcare customer service professionals:


Healthcare customer service professionals should receive active listening, communication, and empathy training. The approach to teaching people how to be more empathetic is similar to teaching someone how to dance or enhance their public speaking skills. Training should focus on developing skills such as reflecting feelings, validating emotions, and responding with compassion.


Role-playing can be an effective way to practice empathy and develop communication skills. Healthcare customer service professionals can practice responding to patient scenarios and receiving feedback from trainers or colleagues.

Supportive work environment

Healthcare organizations should foster a supportive work environment that values empathy and encourages staff members to develop strong relationships with patients and families.

Continuing education

Healthcare customer service professionals should receive ongoing training on techniques to enhance empathy

Empathy plays a crucial role in healthcare customer service training because healthcare organizations that demonstrate empathy are usually more successful. Having a staff that exemplifies high empathy shows up with:

Improved patient satisfaction

When healthcare customer service professionals show empathy, patients feel heard, understood, and supported. This can lead to higher levels of patient satisfaction and better patient outcomes.

Better communication

Empathetic customer service professionals can do a better job of communicating with patients and their families. They can listen actively, ask the right questions, and respond appropriately to concerns and questions.

Improved staff morale

When healthcare customer service professionals are trained to be empathetic, it can improve staff morale. Empathy fosters a sense of connection and understanding among staff members, which can lead to a more positive work environment.

Reduced stress and burnout

Healthcare customer service professionals trained to be empathetic are better able to manage the emotional demands of their jobs. They are less likely to experience burnout or emotional exhaustion.

Empathy. It can be taught. It can become your organization’s superpower.

Empathy is not an inherent trait – it is a skill that can be learned and developed over time. By implementing empathy training, role-playing exercises, a supportive work environment, and continuing education, healthcare institutions can help their customer service professionals become more empathetic. This benefits both patients, who feel listened to and understood, and staff members, who experience less stress and burnout. Ultimately, empathy in healthcare leads to higher patient satisfaction, better adherence to treatment plans, and fewer medical errors. Investing in empathy training for customer service teams is a win-win that improves outcomes for patients and staff alike. Healthcare institutions that make empathy a priority will provide a higher quality of care and be more successful overall.

Transform your healthcare customer service and see the ripple effects – happier patients, happier staff, reduced risks, and sustainable growth. TrainSMART provides customized in-person or virtual training to equip your people with the skills and mindsets to deliver 5-star service. Our proven curriculum tailored to your needs addresses communication, empathy, wait times, problem-solving, information management, and culture. Invest in your staff today! Learn more about our healthcare customer service training program.