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Views of institutional leaders on maintaining humanism in today's practice. Patient Educ Couns 2019 10;102(10):1911-1916



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85065518387   2 Citations


OBJECTIVE: To explore leadership perspectives on how to maintain high quality efficient care that is also person-centered and humanistic.

METHODS: The authors interviewed and collected narrative transcripts from a convenience sample of 32 institutional healthcare leaders at seven U.S. medical schools. The institutional leaders were asked to identify factors that either promoted or inhibited humanistic practice. A subset of authors used the constant comparative method to perform qualitative analysis of the interview transcripts. They reached thematic saturation by consensus on the major themes and illustrative examples after six conference calls.

RESULTS: Institutional healthcare leaders supported vision statements, policies, organized educational and faculty development programs, role modeling including their own, and recognition of informal acts of kindness to promote and maintain humanistic patient-care. These measures were described individually rather than as components of a coordinated plan. Few healthcare leaders mentioned plans for organizational or systems changes to promote humanistic clinician-patient relationships.

CONCLUSIONS: Institutional leaders assisted clinicians in dealing with stressful practices in beneficial ways but fell short of envisaging systems approaches that improve practice organization to encourage humanistic care.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: To preserve humanistic care requires system changes as well as programs to enhance skills and foster humanistic values and attitudes.

Author List

Gilligan MC, Osterberg LG, Rider EA, Derse AR, Weil AB, Litzelman DK, Dunne DW, Hafler JP, Plews-Ogan M, Frankel RM, Branch WT Jr


Arthur R. Derse MD, JD Director, Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
MaryAnn C. Gilligan MD, MPH Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Attitude of Health Personnel
Interviews as Topic
Middle Aged
Organizational Culture
Patient-Centered Care
Quality of Health Care
Social Values
Staff Development
United States