Patients’ Perspectives On Ideal Physician Behaviors

Neeli M. Bendapudi, University of Louisville
Leonard L. Berry, Texas A&M University
Keith A. Frey, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
Janet Turner Parish, Texas A&M University
William L. Rayburn, Texas A&M University


We incorporated the views of patients to develop a comprehensive set of ideal physician behaviors. Telephone interviews were conducted in 2001 and 2002 with a random sample of 192 patients who were seen in 14 different medical specialties of Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Interviews focused on the physician-patient relationship and lasted between 20 and 50 minutes. Patients were asked to describe their best and worst experiences with a physician in the Mayo Clinic system and to give specifics of the encounter. The interviewers independently generated and validated seven ideal behavioral themes that emerged from the interview transcripts. The ideal physician is confident, empathetic, humane, personal, forthright, respectful and thorough. Ways that physicians can incorporate clues to the seven ideal physician behaviors to create positive relationships with patients are suggested.