CHEST Launches Compassionate Healthcare Initiative in Bexar County


Aiming to improve patient care, the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST) is launching the First 5 Minutes™, an empathetic healthcare initiative, on June 18 in Bexar County, Texas.

The First 5 Minutes™ focus on:

Up to 24 Texas-based clinician practitioners will participate in this pilot in-person training program at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center.

The First 5 Minutes™ program grew out of a five-city listening tour in the fall of 2020. CHEST hosted virtual calls to areas across the United States, including Bexar County, experiencing incidents and a disproportionately high mortality due to COVID-19. The goal of the patient-focused tour was to better understand and identify solutions to address health inequities among marginalized communities.

We heard of an overwhelming lack of access to health care, inequities in treatment, and a disheartening level of trust between patients and their health care teams. There is no quick fix for these deep rooted problems. However, doing nothing to change this situation and improve patient care is not an option. The First 5 Minutes™ program is a way to affect change on an individual level.”

Robert Musacchio, PhD, CEO of the American College of Chest Physicians

Health care disparities continue to grow as 28 million people in the United States live without health care coverage and 13.4 million people lack Internet access to health resources.1 Small, intentional changes in the interaction between patients and their clinicians can dramatically improve patient care and the patient experience, leading to better outcomes.

Barriers to building trust as expressed by patient participants during the listening tour are related to:

  • Perceived attitudes of disdain among physicians

  • Lack of understanding and/or appreciation of the social determinants of health

  • Excessive use of highly technical/medical terminology which can be intimidating to patients

  • General cultural and philosophical differences that may contribute to implicit biases

The First 5 Minutes™ interactive training model, led by relationship-centered communication trainers, is intended to be a national, in-person, online learning program. To enhance the participant’s empathetic listening, trust-building communication skills are part of the core curriculum, which includes:

  • Understand its implicit bias and impact on patient care through small group discussions and activities

  • Interview focused on the relationship and how it is positively correlated to patient and clinician outcomes

  • Role play exercises demonstrating how rapport is established

To strengthen the patient-clinician relationship and ultimately the patient experience, the First 5 Minutes™ program will provide physicians with the tools to build trust and rapport with their patients, even under time constraints.

“Every 15 minutes, a medical professional is supposed to see another patient. It can be difficult to show compassion and care in this brief window. Yet it is essential,” said the former president. from the American College of Chest Physicians, Stephanie Levine, MD, FCCP, who serves on the program’s steering committee. “The clinician’s actions and words have a tremendous impact on patient care. I am proud to learn alongside my colleagues in Texas. Together, we can set an example of how to improve the way we take care of our patients to ensure that every patient we treat feels welcomed, respected and included in the decision-making process.”


American College of Thoracic Physicians


Comments are closed.