Jozien Bensing, Professor of Health Psychology
"The power of attention"
Jozien Bensing is Professor of Health Psychology. In 2006, she received the prestigious Spinoza Prize for her research into the communication between doctors and patients.
“The Spinoza Prize, the corresponding recognition and the prize money of 1,5 million euros, is the best thing that can happen to a scientist. I have never encountered problems with securing funding for research, which was virtually always intended for applied research. The Spinoza Prize, however, is giving me plenty of possibilities to expand my purely scientific research."
"The prize has had an enormous impact, not only in my field of science, but also in relation to society. In 2007 alone, I received 25 invitations to deliver lectures outside of the framework of my usual scientific activities, from hospitals, schools of medicine and patient organisations.”
“The subject has a very high relevance. Everybody has heard stories of bad communication between doctors and patients. My research is based on 16,000 video images of visits. I analysed the images using an American system which makes the results suitable to be exchanged in an international context. The images offer an inexhaustible source of information."
Less articulate than expected
"Contrary to expectations, my research shows that patients have become less articulate in the past 15 years. One of the reasons is the introduction of the computer in the consultation room. As soon as doctors turn their face to the monitor, patients stop talking. We intend to examine if the quality of the communication between doctors and patients has measurable impact on health results. Subsequent research will also seek to examine if good communication has any placebo effects. Attention is often more important than we think.”