(HealthDay News) — Some institutions are asking physicians to solicit donations from patients, although most physicians agree this could impact the physician-patient relationship, according to a study published online Sept. 28 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Jennifer K. Walter, MD, PhD, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues surveyed medical oncologists affiliated with the 40 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers regarding their experiences and attitudes to philanthropy at their institutions.
The researchers found that 71% of the 405 respondents had been exposed to their institution’s fundraising/development staff. Of these, about half (48%) were taught how to identify patients who would be good donors, and about one-quarter (26%) received information about the ethics relating to soliciting donations from patients. One-third (32%) had been asked to solicit a donation for the institution directly from their patients; half declined to do so. Those who solicited donations had been in practice significantly longer (mean, 19 vs. 13 years; P<0.001). Although 37% reported feeling comfortable taking to their patients about donations, most (74%) agreed it could affect the physician-patient relationship and half (52%) believed there was some conflict of interest.
“Institutions are asking physicians to directly solicit their patients for donations with variability in physicians’ perceptions of the impact on relationships with patients and responses toward those requests,” the authors write.
One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.