The Faculty Research Colloquium
What Patient-Centered Care Needs to Learn from Posthumanism
by Catherine Gouge
"When all else fails, nothing hits a patient between the eyes like a photo of amputated toes."
~"Facilitating Improved Compliance among Patients with Diabetes," Podiatry Today, May 2006
Patient-centered care methodologies have organized most efforts to improve patient communication in the last 30+ years. Scholars in medical rhetoric, medical anthropology and sociology, disability and feminist studies, narrative medicine, health communication, and more have criticized the culture of compliance in medicine that expects patients to simply follow doctors’ orders. In so doing, they have condemned the use of compliance rhetoric among health care professionals as well as practices like using photos of amputation to "facilitate" compliance from a person with diabetes—arguing that such strategies are coercive and ought to draw our attention to power imbalances and the insidious pretense of choice in clinical encounters. In spite of such work and broad efforts to insist on empathetic, patient-centered care practices, critical documents given to patients when they are discharged from care facilities such as those listing medications are notoriously ineffective for the patients they are meant to serve, and studies designed to measure the usefulness of discharge communication with patients have not been effective. This presentation will talk about why extensive efforts to improve such documents have failed and what scholarship in technical communication and posthumanism can do to help.
April 24, 2013
2:30 p.m., 130 Colson Hall