Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. The team at The Change Foundation is very passionate about our work to improve the healthcare experience for Ontario patients. One part I love the most, is the opportunity to showcase our work at conferences and workshops. I never fail to get lots of personal responses from members of the audience no matter who they are or where they work. Everyone has a story about themselves or a family member that resonates with them, including stories about healthcare workers who went way beyond what was expected to provide a compassionate, high quality experience. And, stories of circumstances where just the opposite happened and people were left confused and often angry over how they were treated. Healthcare is the most intimate and private of services and often delivered at a time when people are the most vulnerable; how they are looked after matters and leaves lasting effects.
When foundation staff talk about our work, we use the normal sorts of communication tools – slides, videos, data and anecdotes. Of late however, I have been using something else – it requires no explanation from me, it’s a simple set of hand-drawn images with real words from patients and caregivers living with chronic conditions. Where did they come from? For the last year, we have been working with a dedicated group of Ontario patients and caregivers trying to define and capture what their patient experiences have been like and how we can learn from both the good and the bad.
Known as our PANORAMA panel, they give up time on weekends to sit in a hotel with us and grapple with the best ways to improve healthcare experiences and transitions.
Working in small groups, we asked our 32 PANORAMA panelists to describe Ontario’s healthcare system in one or two words. We then had a talented graphic artist draw images that conveyed their catch phrases. Collectively, the real, raw dozen slides capture a spectrum of key communication and coordination challenges faced by users of our healthcare system. The smart, funny and sometimes poignant images have become my way of showcasing what happens to patients in Ontario. See for yourself and when you are looking at them, think about whether they mirror your own, or your family’s experience. And then let us know, do they resonate with you?
Cathy Fooks, CEO, The Change Foundation