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Margaret McCartney: Reading makes us better doctors

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 13 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3373

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Re: Margaret McCartney: Reading makes us better doctors

Sir, Madam,

Our papers "Art lovers make better doctors" (Lancet Respiratory 2013, 1, 769 - 770), and "Art informs health psychology" (Health Psychology Open, 2018, 5, 1 - 13) strongly support Margaret McCartney's point about the beneficial effects of reading for doctors. And this is not only true for reading: in the papers we mention, passive and active involvement with music, film and paintings also are associated with increased levels of empathy, improvements in physical function, and better medical outcome. This is true for patients and health care providers. Incorporating elements from the arts ('medical humanties') into medical education and clinical practice benefits patients, their partners, providers and the and public at large.

Ad A. Kaptein, professor of medical psychology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, the Netherlands

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 August 2018
Ad A. Kaptein
medical psychologist
Medical Psychology Section LUMC
Leiden University Medical Centre LUMC