Caring About the Patient While Caring for the Patient – UChicago

Click here to visit the U of Chicago announcement site and watch a video.

The Bucksbaum Foundation has donated $42 million to the University of Chicago to create an institute that concentrates on clinical excellence with a focus on partnering with patients. What a common-sense, and timely idea. Disclosure: I have a graduate degree from U of C.

As university president, Robert J. Zimmer comments in the press release:

This generous gift offers the opportunity to bring a new level of rigor to the study of the doctor-patient relationship and clinical judgment. The Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence provides an important complement to the biological research and clinical strengths of this institution.

The main focus? Developing the environment for better communication thereby ensuring better patient care (and better outcomes when it comes to recovery). Adult children who are helping older senior parents through medical care often find that communication gaps occur frequently and are complicated by information overload and reticence of older patients to ask questions.

According to the announcement on the website:

The Bucksbaum Institute will support the career development and activities of physicians at three career stages—as medical students, junior faculty, and senior clinicians. These physicians will devote themselves to improving doctor-patient communication and clinical decision-making. The goal is to enhance the skills of physicians as advisers, counselors, and navigators to help patients make informed decisions when facing complex treatment choices.

Read the September 22, 2011 New York Times article, by Dirk Johnson, about the Bucksbaum Foundation contribution. An interesting quote from the Times article:

Nearly all medical schools teach the importance of listening to patients and showing empathy. But the Bucksbaum Institute is an ambitious effort to put compassion and empathy, as Dr. Siegler puts it, “on the same pedestal as science and technology.”

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