ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ - April 24, 2008 - As the 2008 national presidential election heats up, one topic remains a voter hot button and a constant debate issue - the health care crisis in America. Political affiliations aside, there is one aspect everyone can agree on - the importance of access to quality health care. But what defines 'quality' health care today" According to a new survey conducted by Kelton Research for the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, a vast majority of Americans wish their doctors demonstrated the 'care' in the term heath care. The survey unveiled that nearly eight out of ten polled (78 percent) complain that today's doctors need better bedside manners and less than half of survey respondents could describe their doctor's recent conduct as attentive (49 percent), communicative (44 percent) or compassionate (32 percent) at their last medical visit.
"Many past studies have shown a strong correlation between patient and doctor satisfaction and better overall patient outcomes when doctors develop a relationship with their patients," said Arnold P. Gold, MD, founder of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. "What this survey shows us is that patients are still craving for their physician to see the 'person' behind the prognosis and really want a 'connectedness' with their doctor. "
As the leading Foundation dedicated to keeping the care in healthcare, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation sponsored the online survey of 1,000 Americans over the age of 18 to garner patient perceptions about their physicians' commitment to providing compassionate care. Survey respondents indicate that along with the need for better beside manner, less than half (47 percent) of the doctors visited have displayed an interest in their overall well-being as a person rather than the specific ailment at hand. In addition, many Americans report that their dissatisfaction with doctors is due to an experience of disconnection, such as the doctor making them feel rushed (40 percent), not providing enough opportunity to discuss their concerns and questions (36 percent), or even being outright rude or condescending (23 percent).
Establishment of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation
As a pioneer pediatric neurologist and faculty member at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Arnold P. Gold has made it his mission over the past two decades to specifically address the care in health care. In 1988, with the support of his wife Sandra Gold, Ed.D., several Columbia colleagues, and a group of dedicated philanthropists, Dr. Gold established the Foundation, with the goal of restoring a more effective balance between the cutting edge science of medicine and the equally relevant and needed art of compassion.
Drs. Gold and the Foundation's Board focused their initial work during the four impressionable years of medical school. The Foundation's strategy was twofold - 1) to impact physicians' values and behaviors throughout the educational experience; and 2) to establish collaborative relationships with medical schools and universities to re-establish the critical balance of educating both technically skilled and caring doctors.
The Foundation's Board determined that recognition, rituals, role modeling and research would help to elevate the importance of compassionate care within the medical profession. In 1993, the Foundation launched the White Coat Ceremony for entering medical students, which has become a widespread tradition in medical education. By professing an oath and receiving the iconic "white coat" at the inception of their medical education, students commit to making service to their patients their primary responsibility. In 2002, the Foundation inaugurated The Gold Humanism Honor Society to provide a means to recognize exemplars of humanistic care and help shape the future of American medical practice. Already, more than half of the nation's medical schools have established a chapter.
As he celebrates the 20th anniversary of his eponymous Foundation, Dr. Gold is reminded by the startling results of this survey that his Foundation's work is not yet complete. Although there are talented physicians who provide compassionate patient care, many others still need to realize that competency in medicine is defined by more than just scientific and technical skills. Physicians must care for the person with the disease while tackling the disease itself.
In honor of its 20th anniversary celebration, the Foundation has launched a campaign to raise endowment funds and ensure the perpetuation of Dr. Gold's legacy. The Foundation plans to raise $20 million with a goal of $10 million by 2010.
About the Foundation
Founded in October 1988 and based in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to keeping the care in healthcare. Currently, students and faculty at 93% of our nation's 154 schools of medicine and osteopathy participate in one or more of the Gold Foundation's educational programs. For more information, visit www.humanism-in-medicine.org.