Compassion and Health Care: A Discussion With the Dalai Lama.
The calling to be a physician has historically been driven by compassion-that is, the desire to relieve the suffering of others. However, the current health care delivery system in the United States has increasingly limited the ability of physicians to express compassion as they are afforded little time for meaningful interaction with their patients. One of the authors (R.S.) draws on his current focus on developing personalized, proactive, and patient-driven models of care to argue that patient engagement plays a critical role in achieving favorable outcomes. Believing that compassion is key for establishing the physician-patient relationship needed to foster patient engagement, R.S. sought the advice of one of the world's most recognized thought leaders on this topic, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. This Invited Commentary describes the meeting between the two authors, the Dalai Lama's thoughts about compassion, and his challenge to bring attention to the importance of compassion in medical education, practice, and research.
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