A patient's confidence in his doctor is an essential ingredient of successful medical practice. The recent report of the University Student Hygiene Committee and the continuing current of student sentiment against the Hygiene Department indicate that at Harvard this ingredient is lacking.
On the other hand, students have been unable to present any specific complaints that will stand up under Hygiene Department scrutiny. Perhaps this inability to find specific flaws in the University's medical program is an indication that the generalized complaints are unjustified. Or perhaps it merely results from the fact that students just do not have enough knowledge of the problems of running a clinic to criticize competently the current medical setup.
The solution, in either case, is for the Hygiene Department to take the initiative by hiring an outside, impartial expert on the running of clinics and infirmaries to make a thorough report on the situation here at Harvard.
Both before and after the war the financial system of the Hygiene Department was examined by insurance companies, and none of them was willing to undertake a program of health insurance here at the price the University is charging. But such investigations, aimed at the reproduction by a private company of what is now done on a quasi-socialistic basis by the University, were of a basically different nature than that proposed here.
The investigation here contemplated would concern itself as much with the quality of service offered as with the amount offered and the price charged. Such an investigation, if it found ways to improve the Hygiene Department, would obviously be valuable. And if its sole result were to give the Department a clean bill of health, that too would have the valuable effect of restoring student confidence in the Hygiene Department and of stopping criticism that cannot help but undermine the morale of the Department and its patients.