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May 23/30, 2017

Changing Mindsets to Enhance Treatment Effectiveness

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Boston Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 3Center for Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California
JAMA. 2017;317(20):2063-2064. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.4545

During the past few decades, significant biomedical advances have increased diagnostic and treatment effectiveness. Recent research from psychology provides a special opportunity to add value to the traditional cornerstone of medicine: the patient-clinician relationship.

What is it about the conversation between patient and physician that gives it therapeutic value? At the most basic level, physicians and other clinicians gather information and communicate disease and treatment information. At an emotional level, the conversation can evoke a sense of mutual trust, empathy, support, and reassurance. This Viewpoint discusses research on mindsets, a critical feature of the conversation between patients and physicians because of their ability to drive motivation and alter physiology to enhance clinical outcomes.