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Schwartz Center proposes agenda to promote compassionate care
Date:9/8/2011

Boston (September 8, 2011) In light of a national survey showing that only about half of patients believe the U.S. health care system is a compassionate one, the Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare today proposed an agenda for improving such care in an article in the September issue of Health Affairs, the nation's leading health policy journal.

"For most clinicians, compassionate care matters because it is fundamental to the practice of medicine, ethically sound, and humane," according to lead author Beth Lown, MD, medical director of the Schwartz Center and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "However, there is also strong evidence that compassionate care improves health outcomes and quality of life, increases patient satisfaction, and lowers health care costs. Particularly as our health care system faces such intense pressure to reduce costs, we must make sure that this critically important element of health care is not lost."

To ensure that all patients receive compassionate care, the Schwartz Center recommends that:

  • The federal government include compassionate care measures in national quality standards and create a Compassionate Care Index (CCI) to measure the level of compassionate care being delivered by health care institutions and individual providers;
  • The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute created by the Affordable Care Act fund comparative effectiveness research to determine which aspects of compassionate care have the greatest impact on health outcomes, quality of life, and patient satisfaction;
  • New health care payment systems, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' proposed value-based purchasing system, reward providers for the compassionate care they provide to patients and families; and
  • Comprehensive training programs be developed to help health care professionals and trainees develop the necessary skills required for com
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Contact: Petra Langer
petralanger@comcast.net
781-640-0086
The Schwartz Center for Compassionate Healthcare
Source:Eurekalert

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