On Thursday I attended an awesomely inspiring event – the World Health Innovation Summit 2016 – #WHIS16 is the hashtag.
What’s it all about? The WHIS was founded ‘To support inspiring platforms around the world that encourage innovation and knowledge exchange to improve health and social care.’ More information about the organisation can be found on their website.
The 2016 conference attracted a brilliant range of speakers and attendees both from inside and outside the Healthcare spectrum. Speakers shared their experiences, stories and ideas – and the energy in the room created from the information-sharing and need for improvement and inspiration was profound and electric. I am genuinely awed to have been there!
Why was I there? No, I’m not a healthcare professional but I have an interest in improving patient experience. (My not-so-good experience in one healthcare setting was the catalyst to publish Whoosh! – to help empower couples that are entering the maternity ‘world’, and to give them some tools and knowledge and confidence on their journey to parenthood. It’s an alternative anti natal education!).
I’ve found that experiences are often the catalyst to amazing campaigns and causes – At WHIS Olive O’Connor spoke of her challenge in administering a range of meds to her family and she has now developed a very successful method to help families in similar situations. There are other amazing examples out there too. The #MatExp campaign is a vital resource available to both maternity professionals and parents to voice their experience, raise the level of debate about issues and act to improve services. #Hugo’sLegacy was similarly started because of an experience that had a profound impact. There are lots more examples of these grassroots campaigns – what’s important is that these campaigns are so often where the energy and determination starts and is translated into action and improvement.
Deidre Munro began the Global Village Midwives, and her presentation was just inspiring, with generous amounts of #MyoMo beamed out throughout, and discussion about maternity services and patient experience afterwards creating a real buzz. Sheena Bryom’s seminal ‘Roar behind the silence‘ was noted and the #MatExp campaign highlighted. The energy and discussion from the afternoon’s talks has already manifested in a new initiative – the Global Village Mental Health, started by Soni Cox, Creator and Director of My Way Code.
My other hat in attending the WHIS conference was as an illustrator and artist, and there’s nothing more I enjoy than being part of Something Good and documenting or visually responding to it.
Art is important in the world, and I think it has two specific uses in healthcare settings.
The first is as a communication tool – we could all improve our communication efforts and healthcare is by no way exempt from this, in fact healthcare Twitter conversations often highlight communication issues as the root of many other issues. Graphic illustration is a brilliant and underrated tool that I wish healthcare professionals were more aware of – so much could be done to translate vital information into visually appealing language to specific audiences.
The second is recognising the artist as instrumental in problem solving. This perspective uses ‘activist’ artists (as opposed to, say, landscape painters, who have an entirely different reason for and method in their craft) to intervene in situations to problem-solve, or raise debate, or discover truths and make perspectives apparent. The reason this kind of artist is so valuable, is that they are by their very nature creative problem-solvers – they tackle situations from different angles, see issues in different ways and can bring entirely new perspectives to policy and approach. If you manage to find a good one, an activist artist should be on every team.
Carrie Jackson gave a range of examples of artists being involved in patient recuperation in the context of practice development, I think there’s more discussion to be had there!
As an artist I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to respond to the WHIS event, but what transpired was a series of mini portraits of some of the speakers, which I hope will be an enjoyable way to remember who was who.