Quality & Patient Safety

Storytelling in healthcare enhances experience for patients and providers

Patient Safety Monitor, May 1, 2009

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When someone becomes sick or injured and visits a doctor’s office, hospital, or other healthcare facility, the practitioner asks a set of questions to get a better sense of how to treat the patient and learn that patient’s history. Many facilities in the United States and the United Kingdom are using storytelling as a way to enhance the story that develops when a patient is asked the standard list of questions. Storytelling helps providers develop a relationship with the patient and form a better understanding of an individual case.

“In asking the questions, the practitioner starts bringing out the texture of the person’s life, and not just the data,” says Andre Heuer, DMin, LICSW, a storyteller, psychotherapist, and educator in Minneapolis. “The details begin to fill in, so it becomes a broader picture with movement and what the patient feels about the situation along the way.”

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Patient Safety Monitor.

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