Training Empathetic Scholars® in The Compassionate Practice®
a humanities in medicine hub.
Why does compassion matter in medicine?
In 2018 Drs. Steve Trezciak and Anthony Mazzarelli published Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence that Caring Makes a Difference, a book based on their two-year journey utilizing biomedical evidence in which they conducted the largest systematic review of the literature related to acts of compassion in healthcare. Their research confirmed what we have observed and heard over the past decade as we trained thousands of healthcare providers and scientists: compassion is important not only in an ethical or emotional sense, but also in a scientific sense. Compassion has a direct, undeniable impact on health outcomes as well as the business of healthcare.
DOES COMPASSION MATTER?
1,300 study subjects – including patients and physicians – were asked if they believed that compassion matters in healthcare:
- 75% of both patients and physicians said “yes.” They also said it matters so much that it could actually mean the difference between life and death.
- Most people who attempt suicide have made some type of recent healthcare visit – 38% within the last week and 95% within the last year.
- 87% said kind treatment is more important than any other key consideration in choosing a healthcare provider, including wait time, travel distance or cost.
THERE IS A DISCONNECT BETWEEN PATIENTS’ AND DOCTORS’ PERCEPTIONS:
- Nearly half of Americans believe the US healthcare system and health care providers are not compassionate. 64% of patients say they have had a healthcare experience with a meaningful lack of compassion.
- By contrast, 75% of physicians believe that they are compassionate.
WHY IS THERE A DISCONNECT?
Research shows that physicians routinely miss emotional cues from patients and miss 60 – 90% of opportunities to respond with compassion.
- Hospitalists miss 68% of opportunities to respond with compassion.
- Primary care missed 79% of emotional cues and opportunities to respond with compassion.
- 5 % of statements by surgeons expressed any compassion.
TOP REASONS DOCTORS SAY THEY MISS OPPORTUNITIES TO BE COMPASSIONATE:
- “I don’t see it.”
- “I don’t have time.”
- “I don’t care.”
- “I don’t know how.”
- “I don’t believe it really matters”