What Worries You?
“What Worries You” is an event for clinicians to reach out to their patients and learn about their deepest concerns. It serves as a reminder that effective and empathic communication between clinicians and patients is essential to high quality, effective, safe and affordable care. This initiative re-energizes the customary and expected conversation between clinicians and patients that happens in the doctor’s office or hospital with this short, unexpected telephone call. For everyone, having this conversation with family, friends, and/or other community members is a great way to understand their concerns.
All the information on this webpage can be downloaded in this guide. Print it out for your reference or share with friends you think would be interested in hosting a “What Worries You” event for Right Care Action Week!
Physicians: “What Worries You” via Telephone
Preparing for the Event
- Step 1: Sign up on rightcareactionweek.org to let us know that you are doing this event! Fill out the Event Registration Form (coming soon) to share the details. You’ll find an Event Summary Form (coming soon) as well.
- Step 2: Invite your department, team, or a group of colleagues to join you in making the calls. Reach out to them by sending personalized emails, blast list serves, make announcements in meetings and classes, and have discussions in person or over the phone to explain this project. Ask them to make one phone call a day to a patient. These calls can be very short—no more than 510 minutes. These are not calls to discuss lab results, or an upcoming procedure or office visit. Explain why you think making these phone calls is so important, and ask your recruits to join you.
- Step 3: Once people agree to make phone calls, share with them the question for them to ask over the phone:
“Is there something you’ve always wanted to talk about with me about your health, or your experiences with the health care system, that we’ve never had a chance to talk about before?”
Day of the Event
On Friday, October 14, remind participants (people who are making phone calls) that Right Care Action Week is starting on Monday. Make sure they have the questions and a place to take notes on the answers.
Each participant makes one call each day of the week to a patient (or other person such as a family member) of their choosing. Everybody should keep track of the key themes and stories that emerge from each phone call. Ask them to take a few minutes to write down and recap the conversation at the end of each phone call.
At the end of the week, have a celebration meeting with everybody who participated. Share your thoughts and experiences. Choose 1 person to fill out the Event Summary Form (coming soon) on rightcareactionweek.org. We’ll share the stories from your group’s calls with the rest of the network.
Community Members: “What Worries You” with Cards
Preparing for the Event
- Step 1: Sign up on rightcareactionweek.org to let us know this is happening! Be sure to fill out the Event Registration to share the details.
- Step 2: Find collaborators. They can be people you work with in your clinic or hospital, co-workers in your office, or members of your church, mosque, or synagogue. All they have to do is pass out cards and collect them. Find collaborators by making announcements in meeting and classes; sending e-mails; meet with colleagues and friends in person. If you work at a hospital, collaborators could be residents, attending physicians, nurses and other staff.
- Step 3: Discuss the project with your team. Decide on a day; how will you pass out cards? How will you collect cards? And who you will give cards to? You could give cards to church members before the service begins and collect them on the way out. In a hospital, you could give cards to patients in the waiting room of the ER or in examination rooms in a clinic.
- Step 4: Discuss with your team the language you might use to invite people to fill out a card. For example, you could say, “We’re doing a project to improve health care and we’re interested in your thought about what could be better in the current system.” Or, “We’re doing a project that will improve the care we deliver to patients like you and we project that will improve the care we deliver to patients like you and we need to know what worries you about your care or what might happen when you leave the hospital/clinic/doctor’s office.”
- Step 5: Send a reminder the day before you plan to start the project to all who agreed to participate.
- Non-glossy card stock, printed from the template PDF on RightCareActionWeek.org.
- Pens! Be sure to have almost as many pens as cards – it’s easy for pens to disappear.
- Box for collecting the completed cards.
Day of the Event
Have your materials ready! The cards, pens and collection box should be placed in a prominent location and the people handing out the cards are ready to go.
Hand out cards
Hand out cards and ask people to fill them out with their responses to "What Worries You." Once completed, collect the cards in person.
Talk about it
Talk to people about their answers and have a conversation about their concerns. Store the cards in a box designated for this purpose.
Share the stories
Photograph all cards, share and discuss them during a meeting to foster discussion and reflection. Share responses via social media using #RCAW, ensuring that these shares contain no patient identifiers.
- Overuse 101 Primer: http://lowninstitute.org/learn/overuse-101/#whatisoveruse
- Do No Harm Project: http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/medicalschool/departments/medicine/GIM/education/DoNoHarmProject/
- Teachable Moments Series: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1741887
- Kevin MD on writing about patients: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2010/02/telling-patient-story-issues-facing-physician-writers.html