A Puzzle, A Mystery…and A Workshop

by Joanna Smith on Feb 9, 2010

I’ve been ready Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw and found his chapter on puzzles and mysteries very intriguing. He says we want life to be like a puzzle:  if only we could find that one piece, everything would fit together and be clear.  Instead, it’s a mystery with many pieces missing and needing to be arranged and re-arranged to find a solution.

And healthcare is a prime example.

If you cut your finger, that is a puzzle:  we know, if it’s a minor cut, it needs…washing, perhaps an antibiotic ointment, maybe a band aid.  If it’s major, it may require stitches.  But if you are diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome or an irregularity of your heart beat, that is something different.  There are no pat answers:  you need to do a lot more investigation and thought, along with your healthcare team, to figure out the best treatment options.  This is a time when healthcare advocates can be of so much help to people.  It’s the mysteries we can help most with, by showing people how to problem-solve, interpret the information they’re receiving and make a decision.

These topics are some of what is included in the curriculum of Healthcare Liaison’s “Becoming a Private Healthcare Advocate”  workshops.  The next one will be at UC/Berkeley on February 27th and 28th.  You can look at the course description at www.healthcareliaison.com/workshops.

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