A Call for a More Compassionate Healthcare System

The nation’s health and the effectiveness of our healthcare system depend to a large extent on the quality of the relationships that patients have with their clinicians and other caregivers.

Unfortunately, the U.S. healthcare system does not always allow caregivers to establish the kind of strong relationships with patients and families that have been shown to promote health and quality of life. This results in poorer health outcomes, lack of adherence to prevention and treatment recommendations, lower patient satisfaction and higher costs.

It’s the Schwartz Center’s goal to change this.

Our vehicle for change is our National Consensus Project on Compassionate Healthcare, a far-reaching initiative to make compassionate care a national healthcare priority.

We are bringing together healthcare providers, patients, educators, researchers and policymakers to develop recommendations on health system reforms that will enable caregivers to provide the compassionate care that patients and families deserve and expect. Together, we have developed the Schwartz Center’s Call to Action, which outlines seven guiding commitments that, if adopted, would go a long way toward making our healthcare system a more compassionate one.

Our goal is to ensure that compassionate care is a fundamental element in the design of healthcare systems, the provision of care, the measurement of healthcare quality and outcomes, and the education of all healthcare professionals – so that compassionate care becomes and remains a national priority.

Leading our effort is our medical director, Beth Lown, MD, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a practicing internist at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA. We have also convened a working group of national healthcare leaders, educators, researchers, patients and family members who are providing us with expert advice and guidance.

Funding for the National Consensus Project on Compassionate Healthcare comes from the Amgen Foundation and the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.