Empathy is a basic skill in the exercise of medicine and increases patient and physician satisfaction and improves clinical results. However, the teaching of empathy is poorly covered in the teaching plans. A number of studies have observed a reduction in empathy during the final training courses. The reasons for this decline include, the students' excessive academic workload, the prioritisation of acquiring medical expertise over humanistic knowledge, the patient load in hospitals and health centres and the physicians' need to distance themselves from their patients. Nevertheless, intervention studies through simulation with standardised patients have shown an increase in empathy in students, which can be evaluated through the Jefferson scales: JSE-S and JSPPPE. The teaching of empathy to medical students is an important commitment in the curricular programs of medical schools. (C) 2017 Elsevier Espana, S.L.U. and Sociedad Espanola de Medicina Interna (SEMI). All rights reserved.