Powerpoint for patients

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Over the weekend I spent some time at the local hospital.  At one point I found myself outside the hospital restaurant, confronted by a large board covered in beautifully laminated A4 sheets, covered in graphs and bulletpoints.  The gist (and that’s all I managed to glean) was "How well we’re doing"

I’m delighted that they’re celebrating their successes – and it’s fabulous that they’re letting patients, clinical staff and visitors alike know that they’re watching and working to improve things.

But Powerpoint?!?  For patients in what is effectively a low-income city hospital?  At the best of times, I wouldn’t have been inclined to linger in front of 20 charts to work out what each was telling me – particularly given the way that the charts all gave statistics and data in jargon-laden language that meant nothing to me and, I would imagine, even less to the average punter.

Wouldn’t have been simpler and more effective to record a couple of people talking about how the hospital was better now than it had been – what it had done for them? And a rolling screen of faces (or audio if identity protection is crucial) from patients, visitors, staff, consultants, nurses would have grabbed the attention and held it.

Just because we can measure it and put a number on it doesn’t mean a) we should and b) anyone will actually understand what it means.

Posted by Tony Quinlan

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