Much of what we do in healthcare is communicate ideas. That is far more common than ‘doing’. Executive control over decisions are the purview of the patient. It is a basic tenant of medicine that the patient has autonomy.
Often armed with little more than a stethoscope doctors must communicate to the patient that:
- The cause and treatment of that rash are unknown.
- Antibiotics won’t help.
- The ugly warts on those feet will resolve spontaneously.
- That person does not have asthma.
- A colonoscopy is necessary
- That is a ‘panic attack’.
When communication about the evidence base is effective the patient, the practitioner and ultimately the economy benefit. How we communicate such ideas is where innovation has the brightest future. It gives us hope that we can improve outcomes in health without recourse to major policy change or curbing freedom of choice.
We communicate in words, pictures, video, audio and using models. Yet so much of how that is done in the doctor’s office hasn’t changed over the decades. ‘It’s just a virus’ doesn’t cut it any more.
We experience the power of effective communication everyday and in every other area of our lives. Look at your credit card statement this month- does it all make sense? What pressed your ‘purchase‘ button?
What if this extraordinary power deployed so effectively in commerce was unleashed in the clinic?
Picture by Dan Moyle