Eli MacLaren

Written by Eli MacLaren @elithechef eli@bif.is

Share this:

Those who know us well know that at BIF, we believe a great story can change the world. So we’re happy to say that we have just kicked off an exciting new project with funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, all about the power of story in healthcare.

As the Director of the Patient Experience Lab, I have often been heard saying “Our System is Showing” when referring to the challenges in our healthcare system in America. I am obsessed with changing the entire narrative from one where our “system” is the first thing we think about when the topic of healthcare comes up, to one where the path to health and wellness is most visible and top of mind, with a system underneath it, simply supporting it.  An aggressive goal, yes, but every great story has a little tension and a beginning.

Beginning this week, we are inviting thought leaders from around the country to participate in a convening around the notion of how we might capitalize on the power of the narrative to help us better support the care and healing process — both from a patient and provider standpoint. There are so many instances of the use of narrative resulting in positive outcomes, but the efforts are disparate and fragmented. To harness the many uses, practices and narrative forms — from oral and written to artistic — BIF will be hosting a two-day Participatory Design Studio, which is a roll-up-your-sleeves, facilitated session to stimulate point-of-view experience and inspire new thinking based on shared value. We will then codify the results and produce an interactive publication, with a goal of stimulating discussion and implementing some of the methods and tools generated.

Included in the participant list are educators, researchers, physicians, authors, advocates, artists, and patients themselves. We have signed on celebrated professionals from institutions such as Tufts, UCSF, UIC, Kaiser Permanente, Georgetown, and more. We have only just begun the invitation process and are already more than halfway toward our goal of recruiting about 30 individuals who will gather together to share, collaborate, and co-design a comprehensive playbook on the potential for more widespread use of the narrative in healthcare.

This should be a good story, so be sure to follow along as each chapter unfolds. We will be blogging and tweeting about it throughout.