Digital Empathy : Role of Empathy in Digital Health Interactions

Raman, Sneha and Blom, Jeroen and Bradley, Jay, Digital Health & Care Institute (DHI) Crooks, George, ed. (2016) Digital Empathy : Role of Empathy in Digital Health Interactions. Digital Health & Care Institute, Glasgow. (

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Digital Empathy employed a participatory design approach to investigate the role of empathy within the emergent and future models of digital healthcare services, such as Video Conferencing (VC) consultations. The project had a particular focus on delivering care for people living with longterm conditions, e.g. diabetes. A number of factors have an impact on empathy, such as patient pre-conceptions and other individual characteristics, the corresponding behaviours and beliefs of the clinician, and the setting of the consultation. The aim of the Experience Labs was to explore whether people’s perception of empathy changes in a digital context, and to identify factors that are deemed important to empathic VC consultation. The project was carried out in collaboration with the University of the Highlands and Islands. Two Experience Labs were held across three locations in the North of Scotland between February and June 2016. This report presents the findings from Lab activities. The findings from the Labs highlight key factors such as access to shared and meaningful data; clear verbal communication; providing choice of preferred pathways for continued care; presence of the diabetic nurse; preparation and access to information before consultation; and summary to take away afterwards as some of the key factors that have an impact on empathic VC consultation.