An encounter between a doctor and their patient can sometimes seem quick and impersonal.
But a new movement is hoping to humanise health workers, and improve outcomes for both Tasmanian medical professionals and patients.
The ‘Hello my name is ...’ campaign originated in Britain, when doctor and cancer patient Dr Kate Granger was inspired to transform traditional healthcare relationships.
She decided to create a campaign which could create connections between patients and health professionals and encourage compassion and empathy.
The Tasmanian campaign was initiated by the Health Literacy Network, a group established within 26TEN, in partnership with the University of Tasmania and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Although Dr Granger died from cancer, her husband reached out to the Health Literacy Network to express his appreciation that the global campaign and his wife’s legacy had made their way to Tasmania.
The campaign sees medical professionals put forward a pledge, and make it their goal to introduce themselves to their patients and colleagues.
DHHS program support officer Lisa O’Toole said the campaign, which the network had been actively promoting since September, had received great feedback from health professionals who had joined the campaign.
“They are saying, ‘this is really important to us, as health professionals we want to do this’,” Mrs O’Toole said.
“One of the reasons I think it’s important is it’s the start of a conversation … we are saying to people ‘we want to know lots about you’ and we’re asking questions, and by starting by introducing yourself just gives you that headway into being able to do that.”
UTAS School of Health Sciences senior lecturer Dr Shandell Elmer said establishing relationships with patients could help health professionals communicate and assist patients in understanding the treatment they needed.
“As a lecturer, it’s really important for our students because we talk about practising person centred and compassionate care,” Dr Elmer said.
“You’re making a human connection by saying ‘hello, my name is...’ before you start doing the task,” she said.
Free resources are available for health professionals or groups who would like to join the ‘Hello my name is…’ campaign.
To get a campaign pack or find out more information, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
To pledge support for the campaign, visit http://changeday.com.au/pledge/building-a-health-literate-tasmania/