Physicians have varying perceptions on the impact of seeking philanthropy from grateful patients, according to an article published online ahead of print in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.1

Traditional sources of revenue, such as government funding and clinical reimbursement, have decreased. This has placed philanthropy as a necessary source for funding within institutions.

Investigators contacted 771 oncologists to be randomly sampled and surveyed regarding their perception and involvement in philanthropic efforts at their institutions. Of the physicians contacted, 405 (52.5%) responded and most were white (69.9%) and male (62.2%).

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Most (71%) had previous exposure to the fundraising/development staff and 48% of those were taught to determine potentially good donors. Ethical guideline information was provided to 26% of respondents, and 21% were taught institution-specific enforcement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Of the respondents, 32% were directly asked to discuss donation with their patients, half of which declined. Those who sought donation had been in practice longer (mean, 19 vs 13 years; P<0.001), and 37% (men 43% vs women 26%, P=0.008) felt comfortable soliciting donations from grateful patients. Most physicians (74%) believed it may interfere with their relationships with patients, and 52% responded that conflicts of interest would occur.


  1. Walter JK, Griffith KA, Jagsi R. Oncologists’ experiences and attitudes about their role in philanthropy and soliciting donations from grateful patients. [published online ahead of print September 28, 2015]. J Clin Oncol. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.62.6804.