Humanism in Healthcare Research Roundup — April 2016

This post is part of our seriebookss of Research Roundups — a list of recently published studies on humanism in healthcare. If you would like to be notified each time a Research Roundup is published, send an email to with the subject line “Subscribe RR.”

Publications from Gold Foundation-Affiliated Authors

Not all stories of professional identity formation are equal: An analysis of formation narratives of highly humanistic physicians
Branch WT Jr, Frankel R.    Patient Educ Couns. 2016 Mar 19.
The faculty development curriculum was funded by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.
At 8 medical schools, 124 faculty members participated in an 18 month curriculum designed to increase humanism. Researchers performed a qualitative analysis of 20 highly humanistic narratives written at the beginning and end of the program and found that most of these narratives were clustered at the end of the program. Authors conclude that participation in the program may have increased the numbers of highly humanistic events by sensitizing and motivating faculty members to meet their patients’ emotional needs.

Physician well-being: Expanding the triple aim
West CP.    J Gen Intern Med. 2016 May;31(5):458-9.
Dr. West is a Mapping the Landscape, Journeying Together grant recipient
“The Triple Aim of improving the patient experience of care, improving the health of populations, and reducing the per capita cost of healthcare will benefit from expansion to a Quadruple Aim that includes the goal of improving the well-being of health professionals. This addition would not detract from the Triple Aim, but rather would result in improvements to the healthcare system that effectively balance the impacts on patients, populations, and clinicians.”

Longitudinal study evaluating the association between physician burnout and changes in professional work effort
Shanafelt TD, Mungo M, Schmitgen J, Storz KA, Reeves D, Hayes SN, Sloan JA, Swensen SJ, Buskirk SJ.    Mayo Clin Proc. 2016 Apr;91(4):422-31.
Dr. Shanafelt is a Mapping the Landscape, Journeying Together grant recipient
Researchers surveyed over 2600 physicians in a large health care organization to evaluate burnout levels. They also examined the physicians’ administrative/payroll records to see if their burnout level correlated with their professional work effort. They found that burnout and declining satisfaction were strongly associated with actual reductions in professional work effort over the following 24 months.

Promoting resiliency for interprofessional faculty and senior medical students: Outcomes of a workshop using mind-body medicine and interactive reflective writing
Wald HS, Haramati A, Bachner YG, Urkin J.    Med Teach. 2016 Mar 30:1-4.
Dr. Wald is a Gold Humanism Scholar
16 medical and nursing faculty and senior medical students participated in an interprofessional, experiential, skills-based workshop (IESW) combining mind-body medicine skills and interactive reflective writing (RW) fostering self-awareness, self-discovery, reflection, and meaning-making, potentially preventing/attenuating burnout and promoting resiliency. After the intervention, participants reported better understanding of professional burnout/resiliency and felt better prepared to use meditation and RW as coping tools.

Exploring challenges in implementing a health systems science curriculum: A qualitative analysis of student perceptions
Gonzalo JD, Haidet P, Blatt B, Wolpaw DR.    Med Educ. 2016 May;50(5):523-31.
Dr. Haidet is a Mapping the Landscape, Journeying Together grant recipient; Dr. Wolpaw is a Gold Professor.
Researchers conducted focus groups with 5- medical students to investigate their perceptions of the barriers to, challenges involved in and benefits of the implementation of a health systems science (HSS) curriculum including population health, health system improvement and high-value care curriculum. They found that HSS is viewed as peripheral and non-essential, greatly limiting student engagement.

Transforming the patient role to achieve better outcomes through a patient empowerment program: A randomized wait-list control trial protocol
Altshuler L, Plaksin J, Zabar S, Wallach A, Sawicki C, Kundrod S, Kalet A.    JMIR Res Protoc. 2016 Apr 21;5(2):e68.
Dr. Kalet is a Gold Professor.
Researchers created a Patient Empowerment Intervention for adults with type 2 diabetes. Preliminary participant self-report data shows that the intervention is acceptable to low-income, low-health literate patients and feasible to hold across multiple clinical sites. Participants have reported learning specific ways to change their behaviors at their next visit (eg, stating their opinions, asking more questions).

Other Publications

Beyond “one size fits all”: Physician nonverbal adaptability to patients’ need for paternalism and its positive consultation outcomes
Carrard V, Schmid Mast M, Cousin G.    Health Commun. 2016 Mar 30:1-7.

Researchers assessed the nonverbal dominance behavior of 32 general practitioners when interacting with two of their patients and compared it with each of their patients’ preferences for paternalism to obtain a measure of adaptability. They found that the more physicians adapt their nonverbal dominance behavior to match their patients’ preferences for physician paternalism, the more positively the patients perceive the medical interaction. They conclude that it is advantageous for patients when a physician behaves flexibly instead of showing the same behavior towards all patients.

Can arts and communication programs improve physician wellness and mitigate physician suicide?
Genovese JM, Berek JS.    J Clin Oncol. 2016 Feb 29.
The suicides of a former surgery resident and an anesthesiology resident at Stanford catalyzed efforts to address resident and physician burnout, resulting in the formation of the Stanford Committee on Physician Satisfaction and Physician Support (SCPPS). In this article, The Committee reviews projects already in progress on campus that, although not initiated as physician wellness activities, have been lauded by physicians, residents, and medical students as efforts that bring them joy and a respite from the inherent stresses of medicine.

The self-efficacy in patient-centeredness questionnaire – a new measure of medical student and physician confidence in exhibiting patient-centered behaviors
Zachariae R, O’Connor M, Lassesen B, et al.    BMC Med Educ. 2015 Sep 15;15:150.
Researchers developed a questionnaire assessing medical student and physician self-efficacy in patient-centeredness (SEPCQ). The tool was tested by over 350 medical students and hospitalists. Results showed satisfactory psychometric properties and preliminary support was found for its construct validity.

This post was written by Brandy King, Head of Information Services at The Arnold P. Gold Foundation Research Institute