Cartoons Are For Everyone (Day 3)

Today, we played an interesting team exercise in communication.  Btw, as a disclaimer, we were not the best team, and we were nowhere close to being the best team. In fact, if there was last place, we probably would have taken the cake.

This is the exercise: one person receives a picture of a configuration of dominos which he/she must then instruct a partner who must reconstruct this configuration based purely off the verbal instructions.

We failed in all three iterations of the exercise.

Dr. Classen, our medical informatics-infectious disease physician extraordinaire, brought up the salient point: there’s a reason pilots and copilots sit right beside one another. It’s so they have a common frame of visual reference. Joint vision.

And it got me thinking.

We humans are visual creatures. We process information through five senses. The problem is that in healthcare, we LOVE to talk, talk, talk.

Barring certain situations and patients, we should use visual cues as much as possible. Drawing the heart out. Drawing out sodium molecules in water.

This is why cartoons are perfect. I should say cartoons and composed representations of the human body. Not real pictures, since they can be quite gross to patients.

Im not saying this because I’m a fan of Calvin and Hobbes or Spider-Man (I am one, though). When I have drawn pictures for patients, the understanding goes up tremendously. And patients ask better questions. It can SAVE time in the end, oftentimes.

And hopefully your drawing skills improve.