“EP159: Medical Storytelling in Pursuit of Patient Outcomes, with Dhruv Khullar, MD”
by Stacey Richter

Listen to the MP3 file directly by clicking here.

Dr. Dhruv Khullar and I discuss the manifold ways that medical storytelling can be used to oil the wheels of shared decision-making and working toward the outcomes that matter to patients. Storytelling also plays a role when healthcare organizations want to align care teams around a standard of care. It can help clinicians and other care providers understand longitudinal patient data. And, it can help when trying to explain thinking to colleagues.

Dhruv Khullar, M.D., M.P.P. is a physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and a researcher at the Weill Cornell Department of Healthcare Policy and Research. He is also a contributor at the New York Times, where he explores the intersection of medicine, health policy, and economics. He recently worked in the ABC News Medical Unit, helping to curate and communicate evolving health stories, and was previously at the White House Office of Management and Budget (O.M.B.), focusing on Affordable Care Act implementation.

Dr. Khullar completed his training in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and earned his medical degree (M.D.) at the Yale School of Medicine. He also received a Masters in Public Policy (M.P.P.) from the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a fellow at the Center for Public Leadership. 

His work has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Atlantic, Slate, and other lay and academic publications. He was recently recognized by LinkedIn as one of the Top 10 Healthcare Professionals Under 35.

Thank you to Jim Klus-Salisbury for his help with this episode.
@Outcomes_guru ; outcomesguru.blogspot.com


00:00 The epiphany that Dhruv had about patient care.
04:15 Defining medical storytelling.
06:45 The categories of medical storytelling.
08:10 Two components to inspiring an organization to do something differently.
08:20 Having evidence to convince people of change.
08:40 A narrative that inspires people to change.
09:00 “It’s also helping people understand how this fits into the identity of their organization and their identity as professionals.”
10:00 “It’s the stories of the patients you have to bring to life.”
12:40 “What’s going to motivate that change?”
13:00 Getting people to care emotionally about issues.
16:20 Having patients tell their own stories.
17:45 How storytelling in medicine has value for the storyteller as well.
18:40 “What is the context of care here?”
20:00 Dhruv’s advice for developing story-gathering and storytelling skillsets.
21:50 “Stories are often what move us to get us there.”
22:30 A framework for taking stories and eliciting change.
22:50 “The story of self, the story of us, the story of now.”
25:50 Encouraging teams to use storytelling, whether formally or fully trained or not.
29:30 Why people in the sciences are wary of stories.
33:25 Pharmaceutical advertising as an example of storytelling.
38:00 You can learn more by following Dhruv’s writing in the Well section of the New York Times and The Upshot.

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