Conversations about bias, healthcare, and the importance of reflection have gone global. In this episode, you’ll learn 4 questions you can ask yourself–or a group you’re in–to engage in some reflective practice around bias in healthcare. You’ll also hear about Dr. Liebel’s upcoming online course about reflective practice.
Today’s episode, like every episode, is about a problem or a question that’s emerging in the health sector that relate to health communication, or health literacy or patient education. Considering the last few weeks, everyone is talking about bias and healthcare and the importance of reflection. That’s what today’s episode is about.
I believe bias relates to health communication, and health literacy and patient education. So I’m going to talk with you about that and I’m writing a course, a self-paced online course about reflective practice. And I’m gonna give you a taste of that by sharing a couple questions that you can ask, regardless of where you’re at in your comfort or experience on reflecting on bias and healthcare. This is 10 Minutes to Better Patient Communication from Health Communication Partners and I’m Dr. Anne Marie Liebel.
At first I just want to say thanks. People are coming to the Health Communication Partners site quite a lot, and hitting the pages on reflective practice. The top–was it two out of the top three pages the last couple weeks have been about reflective practice. And the other one has been about bias. So, thanks for coming to the site, thanks for listening to the podcast series. Thanks for trusting me to help guide you along this path. I appreciate that you trust that when you come here you will find a new episode every two weeks, like you have been since October 2017, wow. I know we have some new listeners. Some of you have just discovered us, so if you found this recently, welcome! Thanks for tuning in.
Ideally, reflective practice isn’t something that you do just once in a while. It’s called practice right? It’s constant. And confronting bias is also not something that you can do just once in a while. It becomes a practice. And it’s a long road.
If you’re looking for something you can do right now in your organization, I wrote an audiobook bundle called Addressing Implicit Bias. And it’s an audiobook, and then there’s a pdf that’s got the transcript and then the links to all of the research, and worksheets, and checklists. And that’s on HealthCommunicationPartners.com. It’s a digital download. You can get it right away, and you can use that yourself, you can use that in your organization. ‘cause it’s hard to overstate how important support is in this process.
And I want to say please don’t go this alone. I’ve helped many people over the years, individuals, groups organizations with bias, and connecting it recently to health communication, patient education, and health literacy. So if your organization could use help like this please write me. Again HealthCommunicationPartners.com and click on contact.
So like I mentioned, I’m in a lot of conversations right now and listeners and members are writing and a common thread is that we’re all talking about bias and race and discrimination and health disparities and injustice and equity. And it will come as a surprise to nobody that we’re all at different places in terms of our experience in reflecting on bias, our willingness to effect on bias– alone or with other people.
So part of the challenge of writing this episode, for me, was to try to come up with something that I could do in 10 minutes that would be helpful for you, no matter where you were at in your personal journey. Don’t get me wrong–these episodes are always a creative challenge ‘cause we’ve got a pretty broad audience. And everyone’s got specializations and incredibly complex jobs. So trying to find something that’s going to work, regardless of your specialization and even regardless of your discipline, is, is its own kind of creative challenge.
And then this, the events of the last few weeks, here in the US that spread around the world following the death of George Floyd–people in many different contexts are taking a hard look at themselves and their organizations and institutions. And I support this. So this course I’ve been writing–I started writing this last year. And then when COVID came, I changed it to reflect that. And now I’ve changed it again to reflect this national and global conversation. And I’m going to give you a taste of it right now.
Addressing Implicit Bias Audiobook Bundle
This bundle of audiobook, eBook, and supplementary materials will help you address unconscious or implicit bias in your language. No matter your specialization or patient population. You get practical, culturally and linguistically relevant advice and research-based tools, in an unfussy, conversational format.
All right let’s go #1. What are the key terms you’re using, you know when you’re reflecting? What are the key terms–they could be key terms that you’re hearing or seeing. This seems obvious but you’d be surprised how many times it just kind of gets assumed that we all mean the same thing by a term. Or that everyone just knows what it means. So I’ll invite you to consider what key terms you’re using. And then what do these terms mean to you? How do you understand them? If you’re reflecting with others, invite them to do the same: how did they understand some of these significant, weighty terms that are being thrown around now?
So, I’ll also add that you might be in a situation where everyone needs to have the same definition. That, you know, you need to be on the same sheet of music about this term. Then again, you might be in a situation where having different, multiple understandings of the term is helpful, and it will enrich the conversation to have different perspectives and understandings of a term. So again, this is an essential starting place and it often gets overlooked.
Okay. The second question has to do with the first question. What do those key terms have to do with each other? That is, why are you talking about them together? How do you understand the relationships between them? For instance, this episode is about bias and healthcare. So we could talk for quite a long time about what we each see as the connections or relationships between bias and healthcare. What does one have to do with the other, right? How does bias function in healthcare? Does healthcare have anything to do with bias outside of the health setting? So you established your terms, what everybody thinks they mean, and then you’re going to get in: what are the assumed relationships between these terms. That could take you kind of a while, really, I think! But I’m going to give you two more questions, right.
The third question: why are you doing this? What do you see as the purpose of reflecting on bias in healthcare? Do you expect some sort of an outcome for yourself? If you’re reflecting in a group, what outcomes do others expect? And I ask this question because people have different expectations for what reflection is for, and what we do when we reflect, and why reflection, right?
And I’m going to follow that up with the fourth question, and this is key. For you, are reflection and action related? And if they’re related, how are they related? If you can, be clear with yourself. And if you’ve got a group, definitely be clear: is there a relationship between reflection and action where you’re at?
Now again I have this online self-paced course coming up so if these four questions have got you thinking about things and you’re interested in the course please let me know. Just email me at Anne Marie that’s annemarie at h-cpartners.com. Or you could go to healthcommunicationpartners.com and click on contact. You can find me on twitter you can find me on LinkedIn. This has been 10 Minutes to Better Patient Communication from Health Communication Partners. I’m Dr. Anne Marie Liebel.