Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Patient Narrative Videos: Learning from the illness experience

Patient Narrative Videos: Learning from the illness experience "A series of “patient narrative videos” were designed to foster insight into patient perspectives on the illness experience. People become involved with this project through word-of-mouth or referral. In general, we give patients a small video camera, tapes, and a tripod, show them how to use the equipment, and ask them to take it home in order to share their thoughts and feelings over time. Patients come back with four to six hours of video, which we view and log. We ask patients what they consider to be the most important aspects of their stories, and use these key points as the framework for editing the footage into a coherent “rough draft.” We review this version with the patients to ensure that we have not distorted their perspectives and then produce the final copy. We have completed several patient narrative videos since 1996, including patients living with chronic pain, diabetes, severe eczema, fibromyalgia, manic-depression, pancreatic cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. We do not pay patients for their participation, in part because we want to reduce the incentive for “performance.” The patients offered their narratives because they thought the videos would help people better understand “the world of the sick.” Thus far, it appears they were correct: These videos have been shown to medical students, residents, academic and community physicians, medical educators, communication scholars, and film festival audiences in a variety of contexts, each time proving a powerful trigger for reflection and discussion. This approach complements the use of written narrative in medical education and provides a compelling expression of the disease experience. Patients participating in this project have found the process of creating the narratives therapeutic."
This is a great way of overcoming the physician patient communication gap !


  1. Anonymous7:53 AM

    Dr Malpani -

    This is a very interesting concept. As I was first reading it, I thought, "Oh no, they must have had HOURS of boring WHINING to wade through." Just shows my prejudices and my ignorance, doesn't it?

    It sounds like a great project, like you've managed, with the help of the patients, to whittle these videos down into manageable and meaningful communiques that will truly be of benefit.

    Nice job!

  2. Anonymous3:22 PM

    Dr. Malpani

    it gave me immense pleasure to know that you are using narratives (in video format) to understand the "world of the sick".being a psychologist i have used this in my research. i found that this method does offer an insight into the lay beliefs of the common man. strongly held by the patients these play an important role in recovery and are thus useful to the practioners.

  3. Anonymous11:21 PM

    I'm doing a presentation to some students and wonder if the video is available online? Thanks!


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