This is something. From one of my fav medical magazines, Proto comes an interview with Rita Charon, an internist and literary scholar at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She has initiated a new program in narrative medicine where medical students and clinicians fashion clinical experiences into narratives that reflect not only their points of view but also the patient’s. Charon’s interview reflects her belief that personal narrative can change the way a doctor thinks about her patients and herself. Amen.
And anyone who can discuss Henry James in the context of medicine has my ear.
Most interesting was the suggestion of a parallel chart. Students and doctors are encouraged to write about clinical experiences that may not necessarily be appropriate in the medical record. The experience is intended to expose unique dimensions of patient care.
I was surprised to see the correlation of these narrative processes with clinical outcomes. I’m wondering if such a beautifully conceived concept needs scientific validation? The quantification of subjective, human expression may prove to be a slippery fish.
This idea should be taken public in some way. Narrative medicine and social health would make wonderful partners. Publicly available, privacy-protected parallel charts that allow social dialog might narrow the gap in the doctor-patient disconnect.
Perhaps 33 charts is something of a parallel chart. 33 parallel charts.