Pulitzer Prize Winner Anna Quindlen Advises Physicians to Learn Who Their Patients Are

Anna QuindlenOn November 3rd, in a lecture hall filled to capacity with almost 1,300 medical school deans, faculty, students and residents, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and bestselling author, Anna Quindlen, spoke about Health Care in an Information Age: How Doctors, Nurses and Consumers Can Make One Another Better. 

This annual Jordan J. Cohen Humanism in Medicine Thought Leader Session, co -sponsored by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), enthralled the crowd with comments about the changing relationship between doctors and patients and their need to become partners in the healthcare equation. Additional support for the lecture was provided by the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.

To learn more about the content of  Ms. Quindlen’s incredible speech, you can read these reviews:

 

 


9 Responses to “Pulitzer Prize Winner Anna Quindlen Advises Physicians to Learn Who Their Patients Are”

  1. […] Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, Anna Quindlen, spoke to the Association of American Medical Colleges during the Arnold P. Gold Foundation lecture.  […]

  2. […] those who missed her talk, Quindlen has given permission to the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to make the full text of her speech available until December 3rd, and it can be found here. Having […]

  3. […] those who missed her talk, Quindlen has given permission to the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to make the full text of her speech available until December 3rd, and it can be found here. […]

  4. Patient Commando says:

    I’m impressed with the choice of author, journalist and storyteller as the speaker here.

    A few stats to start:
    – 18 seconds. Remember that the next time you visit a doctor. Its how long the average physician gives a patient to tell their story before interrupting. 18 seconds.
    – 35,000 words. The new vocabulary a medical student graduates with.
    – 6th grade. The average literacy level of the highest needs chronically ill patients.

    Is it possible to know “who I am” in 18 seconds? Before the story gets hijacked?

    There’s a corny old joke about doctors taking years and years going through school, residency, specialty and then practicing medicine. Patients often wonder when they’re going to stop practicing and doing it for real.

    As for patients, when they’re diagnosed with a critical or chronic illness, they don’t get any time to practice. They get thrown into the game right away.

    Patients come into the illness journey with the one tool that mankind has been using for thousands of years to find meaning – a story. Each and every patient has a unique story that goes beyond a medical “history”. Its in that story that healthcare professionals learn “who I am”, about relationships, values, stresses, ambitions and culture. All of the things that describe “who I am” and its relevancy to health.

    Patients need to feel they’re trusted partners. Healthcare pros build trust with narrative competency. By imaginatively entering into the illness story, they’re able to kick around in the semi-darkness until they get a fair understanding of the whole person. Its not tough to do. We all do it every day. Every time we go to the movies, or read a book or listen to a comedian tell a joke, we trustingly abandon ourselves to someone else’s imagination as they tell us their tale. Combining narrative competency with medical experience applies a fully humanistic approach to medicine.

    Patients aren’t shy about telling stories. I’m excited by Dr. Levin’s reason for choosing this speaker “to amplify the patient’s voice” because that’s exactly what we’ve been doing at http://www.patientcommando.com for the last 3 years. We have the most diverse collection of patient stories in any medium that enrich our appreciation of the lived illness experience. Patients are ready, willing and able to tell their stories when given the opportunity.

    Its not hard to “try to be kind”. Here’s a simple act of kindness for physicians that will affect health outcomes: Add another 18 seconds before interrupting.

    36 seconds. 30 patients a day. An extra 9 minutes a day.
    Could that prevent a misdiagnosis?
    Could that avoid an unnecessary prescription?
    Could that save a return appointment due to medication non-adherence?
    Could that prevent a trip to emergency due to incorrect medication dosage?
    Could that save a life?

    To the almost 1,300 medical school deans, faculty, students and residents, listening to Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and bestselling author, Anna Quindlen, I ask the following on behalf of all the patients who haven’t won a Pulitzer prize:

    Please give me 36 seconds to tell my story.

  5. […] I’ve just learnt about Patient Commando (a service set up by Patients to promote Patient storytelling as a method to increase patient engagement in health care) thanks to a promotional comment on the transcript of a speech given by Anna Quindlen at the Jordan J. Cohen Humanism in Medi…. […]

  6. […] put a human face, a series of human faces, on my father’s care.” Her speech is online at HumanizingMedicine.org, and read it now because it will be taken off the web in […]

  7. […] Centered is changing, coming to be more about equal footing and a balanced distribution of power. Speeches like the one Anna Quindlen gave at the American Association of Medical Colleges, AAMC, are extraordinary and illuminate rigid, […]

  8. […] The writer was recently invited to deliver the Humanism in Medicine lecture at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) annual meeting (http://humanizingmedicine.org/anna-quindlen-advises-physicians/). […]

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