Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A True Health Care Innovation: "Hello, My Name Is..."

One of the most refreshing things about hospice and palliative care (HPC) is the person-centered focus of care. Many clinicians who discover palliative care are really drawn to this, because it gets back to the roots of caring for another human being. Add in a healthy dose of communication training and HPC clinicians are ready to jump into a patient/family meeting wherever they are needed. But what about the simple stuff?

Dr. Kate Granger is a physician in her last year of training in the UK ( in Elderly Medicine with a Palliative Medicine sub-specialty), who realized as a patient herself, the simple act of a kind and earnest introduction could make a great impact. She was diagnosed with a terminal cancer during her medical training in 2012. During a re-hospitalization with sepsis in August 2013, she made a acute observation that anyone who has ever been a patient will likely recognize: not every person caring for her bothered to introduce who they were. Even more important, she also recognized the following:
“But when somebody did introduce themselves, it made such a difference to how I was feeling about myself. It made me feel more human again.”
Yet Kate did not yield to the frustration of her initial observation as many of us might. She did not field an anonymous complaint to the suggestion box. She sought to change the behavior of health care professionals, (really all people) who may interact with a patient, be they doctor, nurse, therapist, intake person, volunteer, trainee. And what she did was extraordinarily brilliant yet simple and effective, she reflected on her own actions as a physician, wrote about her experience, and asked other health care professionals to join her in making a simple introduction the beginning of every patient interaction. “Hello, my name is…”
Now this started in the UK back in September 2013, and in 2014 the momentum has grown in the UK, and spread worldwide most notably in Canada, and Australia, but from my social media research it surprisingly has not been a big deal here in the United States*. But all of us...we can change that.

We can help share Kate’s passion. We can start “Hello, my name is…” campaigns in our hospitals, nursing facilities, hospices here in the states. Make a commitment yourself on social media and encourage your health care friends to do the same. The hashtag #HelloMyNameIs very popular on Twitter with millions of impressions but mostly in the UK. Great ideas like this live to be shared and we have the ability to bring compassion back to the foundation of health care in the US.


If your organization gets on board, please make sure to share it with @GrangerKate on Twitter or on her blog. If you let us know too, we will make sure to highlight some of the early adopters here in the United States. (If I missed that your organization in the US, did this a long time ago, let me know, I’ll re-edit the post!). If you are a health care social media influencer I challenge you to write about this and help make a difference in your own digital and IRL communities.

When was the last time you were excited about something in health care?
Like, change the world type of excited?

Additional Links:
Make the pledge on Twitter: 

Change your avatar on social media to "Hello, my name is..."
Hello My Name Is...Website
Download Templates and Logos  
Kate and Chris' story on YouTube
Updates and Archives from Dr. Kate Granger on her website: http://drkategranger.wordpress.com/
Donate to Yorkshire Cancer Centre (Kate's chosen charity) via JustGiving
Download her books (Pallimed Amazon Affiliate Links)



*I did find a well written post by Dr. Peter Pronovost at Johns Hopkins, but despite the post it doesn't appear from other searches Johns Hopkins took him up on the great shared idea.

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