What is a good doctor?

Verena Steiner-Hofbauer, Beate Schrank, Anita Holzinger

Research output: Journal article (peer-reviewed)Review article

40 Citations (Scopus)


Changes in medical curricula have led to a shift of focus in medical education. The goal was to implement a more practical approach to teaching and thereby create better doctors. However, the question of what makes a good doctor is not easy to answer. This article gives an overview on the literature about this topic. A systematized review and narrative synthesis were conducted including 20 articles about the features of good doctors. Qualitative and quantitative studies as well as questionnaires were included. These studies reported research involving students, doctors, patients, and nurses. The resulting characteristics of good doctors fell into six categories: (1) General interpersonal qualities, (2) Communication and patient involvement, (3) Medical competence, (4) Ethics, (5) Medical management, (6) Teaching, research, and continuous education. The different stakeholders showed different ideas of the concept of a good doctor. Interestingly, patients had a stronger focus on communication skills, whereas doctors put more emphasis on medical skills. Balancing this discrepancy will be a challenge for future medical education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-405
Number of pages8
JournalWiener Medizinische Wochenschrift
Issue number15-16
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2018


  • Communication
  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Physicians/psychology
  • Professional Competence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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