A Novel Program at VA Hospitals Uses An Old-World Tradition To Advance Patient Care

Forbes   August 25, 2019

Humans are hardwired for narrative. We think in story, talk in story and connect with others through the power of story. Storytelling is at the heart of a novel program that’s expanding across VA medical facilities across the country.

The “My Life, My Story” program uses patient narratives to build a stronger connection and improve care between healthcare providers and their veteran patients. Veterans who choose to participate are interviewed ahead of their appointment by an interviewer who writes a 1,000 word story about the patient and submits it into the person’s medical record.

Thor Ringler, national program manager, My Life My Story THOR RINGLER

“If primary care providers know their patients better—what matters to the patient and what their values are—they are better able to approach conversations about care and health decisions,”  says Thor Ringler, the Department of Veterans Affairs national program manager for My Life, My Story.

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