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Research Question:
What are the levels of patient-perceived and self-assessed physician empathy among internal medicine (IM) residents in two tertiary hospitals in Pasig City? Is there a significant difference in patient-perceived and self-assessed physician empathy levels between public and private tertiary hospitals?

Empathy is important because it has been speculated to have a positive effect on patient outcomes; it is a skill that can be learned and developed.

This study obtained quantitative measurements of patient-perceived and self-assessed physician empathy. Empathy levels between public and private tertiary hospitals were compared.

General Study Design:
This study utilized a quantitative cross-sectional design, with surveys as the strategy for data collection. Participants: 162 out-patient department patients aged 19-75, and 69 IM residents were sampled from one private and one public tertiary hospital.

Outcome Measures:
The Jefferson Scale of Patient Perceptions of Physician Empathy (JSPPPE) and the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy (JSE) were used to measure the empathy levels.

Sample size calculation was done using OpenEpi. An alpha level of .05 was used for computing the independent samples t-test.

Internal medicine patients from the private hospital rated the physicians with higher empathy scores (mean=31.23) compared to their public hospital counterparts (mean=29.01), which is significant (p=.0134). Residents from the private hospital also scored a higher self-assessed empathy score (mean=110.46) compared to physicians from the public hospital (mean=102.13), which is significant (p=.0147).

This study provided preliminary information on the empathy levels of physicians in the Philippine setting between private and public hospitals, showing that physician empathy levels are consistently higher in the private hospital facility. The results can help hospitals incorporate or improve training in empathy in internal medicine residency programs, as empathy is known to affect patient health outcomes