Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Critical Communication

While on an airplane this week I was close to the front and smiled as the flight attendant looked frustrated when she rambled some words about meeting our luggage when we arrive at the “jetbridge”

She saw me watching her frustration and offered an explanation. “I will have 40 people asking me where their luggage is when they get off the plane” she said. ‘I just told them but they don’t listen.”

I asked her if she ever listened to herself and heard what it was she was saying. “I know that my luggage won’t be waiting for me” I told her. After all, I just used the same airline the day before and I had to wait for my luggage to be brought out.

“How about you tell them to wait for their luggage?” I asked her. She acted like I just discovered a long lost secret. She told me that this was a great idea. “And what was that word you used where our luggage will be?”

She described the jetbridge as the walkway where the landing meets the plane. “And how many people do you think know what a jetbridge is?” Or, I wondered, hear what she is saying through the sound of the engines.

While waiting for the plane to park at the gate, we decided together that she would now tell people to leave the plane onto the ramp and move to the right and wait for their luggage. I wonder if she will still have people asking anymore where their luggage is.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Health Literacy (my opinion)

I am a big supporter and believer that there is a problem with “health literacy” in this country. Described by the American Medical Association, Health literacy is “the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions and follow instructions for treatment.”

The AMA Foundation came out with a film being used to explain health literacy to the medical profession. Feel free to watch the film and come back with your own opinion. View film here

If, I could speak to Mrs. Walker, I would first tell her that intelligence is not about using big words that others don’t understand. Actually, using “big” words is actually a sign of insecurity or it can even be inconsiderate. People know what others can and can not understand – in most cases. If someone is considerate, in tune to others feelings or comfort level, they should recognize if someone does or doesn’t understand.

Mrs. Walker keeps using the word “intelligent” which makes this film good for the doctors, but what does it do for the rest of us who do not have a an education in health but may be brilliant in other areas?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Measure the Living!

Aha, you measurement people! So, you say we can’t measure lives saved? Well we can, people who advocate for themselves or others have begun to speak up. A recent story was printed on the website Empowered Patient that tells the experience of actor Evan Handler and his advocacy for himself why hospitalized for 8 months.

Other stories that we don’t read about like the 4 moms who pulled their kids out of a Long Island hospital also show how advocating for your family may save lives.

We need to start learning about people who speak up and get action so we can begin to report on these stories. This is our measurement! If you work in health care and a patient has spoken up, and it made a difference, I want to hear from you! If you have advocated for yourself or a family member and it’s made a difference, tell me your story! Go to PULSE of NY and link to Share your Story.