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Dare you have a conversation about the C-word?

Af Simon Tulloch, chefkonsulent, psykolog, Dansk Selskab for Patientsikkerhed

Over the last few years, healthcare has been talking about a subject which previously may have been regarded as too sensitive, too vague, or too unscientific to be regarded as useful or appropriate. This subject is compassion. Back in 2018, we invited Professor Michael West to Denmark to speak on the role compassionate leadership has in healthcare (you can watch his presentation here:, and since then the subject has moved further and further into the bright lights of mainstream conversation.

Indeed, if the website for the book ‘Compassionomics: The Revolutionary Scientific Evidence That Caring Makes a Difference’ ( is to be believed, compassion “could be a wonder drug for the 21st century”. The authors of the book, physician scientists Stephen Trzeciak and Anthony Mazzarelli uncover what they describe as “eye-opening data… that demonstrates that human connection in health care matters in astonishing ways.”

In the book they show how:

  • Compassion has vast benefits for patients across a wide variety of conditions.
  • Missed opportunities for compassion can have devastating health effects.
  • Compassion can help reverse the cost crisis in health care.
  • Compassion can be an antidote for burnout among health care providers.
  • Forty seconds of compassion can save a life.

Amongst the numerous enthusiasts of this work, Donald Berwick (President emeritus, Institute for Healthcare Improvement) has stated, “Compassionomics provides the evidence that one simple tool, compassion, can affect not only the outcomes for our patients, but also the financial health of our organizations and the well-being of our providers.”

If you’re curious to know more about compassion, you can listen to the recently released Freakonomics podcast: or watch a TedTalk by Stephen Trzeciak: And if that isn’t enough, Stephen Trzeciak and Anthony Mazzarelli will be talking about compassion in healthcare in a free to join webinar by NHS Scotland on Wed, 27 January 2021.

At PS! we dare to talk about compassion in healthcare, dare you?

Fagligt Nyt om patientsikkerhed er et nyhedsbrev, der udgives af Dansk Selskab for Patientsikkerhed, PS!, og udkommer 6 gange årligt. Det formidler nyt om de seneste nationale og internationale forskningsresultater, begivenheder, trends og meninger inden for patientsikkerhed. Mere Fagligt Nyt

18. december 2020

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