Casting a Light on the Bright Spots in Healthcare

Casting a Light on the Bright Spots in Healthcare
By Susan Frampton, PhD, President, Planetree

Susan Frampton headshot Oct 2013 med resWelcome to the latest installment of Planetalk. Planetalk was established by Planetree many years ago as a forum for capturing and disseminating stories and exemplary practices in person-centered care. It also serves as a conduit for passing along timely information on public policy, new innovations and industry trends in order to accelerate the adoption of person-centered practices globally. Though the format of the publication has evolved over the years, these goals have remained constant.

At a time when there is no shortage of reading material lamenting the problems faced by our healthcare systems, our vision for Planetalk has long been to cast a light on the “bright spots” in healthcare, documenting through stories and case studies what IS possible, and planting seeds of ideas that will create change within the industry – one system, one team, and one reader at a time.

As you read this month’s installment, I expect you will be inspired by the stories of Ingrid van der Voort and Tory Zellick, a patient and family caregiver respectively, who each drew on their personal healthcare experiences to conceive of person-centered solutions that, today, are helping patients to maintain their dignity during breast exams and treatment, and in Tory’s case, are helping family caregivers to better manage the onslaught of information and details that accompany a loved one’s illness. Ingrid and Tory continue the legacy of Planetree’s founder in using personal challenges with the system as a springboard to create changes with the potential to create a more person-centered healthcare experience for all.

We have made a commitment to feature stories of patients and family members like Ingrid and Tory in every installment of Planetalk to regularly reconnect readers to the human dimension of this work. That’s not the only reason, however. Stories like these are beacons, steering us toward a deeper understanding of what matters most to users of the healthcare system – and clarifying where we need to be putting our time, energy and resources to unlock ways of addressing those priorities.

I also expect you will be encouraged by the work unfolding at New York Presbyterian’s Westchester Division to adjust the Care Partner concept to meet the needs of patients in behavioral health settings, and by Griffin Hospital’s Empathy Task Force, demonstrating that empathy need not be a casualty of providing technically excellent care.   You’ll also learn how music therapy is creating a more healing environment in a hospice, and about an exciting new project Planetree is embarking on with funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to engage patient and family partners in using patient-centered outcomes research.

We will continue to do our part to deliver quality content that inspires and informs, and helps you to bridge the gap between intentions to deliver more person-centered care and action to truly do so. In return, I ask that you not only read these articles (and be sure to check out the archives, too!), but also share them – with your colleagues, with your social media contacts, with your patient and family partners. Engage others in a dialogue, in a solution-finding mission, drawing on what you read. Then, step away from the screen, take action and unlock the power of the written word to drive change!