‘Hello, my name is…’ should be the starting point of all healthcare

24 July, 2018

‘Today is #hellomynameis day, which recognises, above all, that healthcare is an interaction between two human beings’, says Dr Linc Thurecht, Acting Chief Executive of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA).

AHHA has released a Perspectives Brief, The #hellomynameis story: ‘Through adversity comes legacy’ through the Association’s Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research.

The paper has been written by Chris Pointon, co-founder of the #hellomynameis movement with his late wife Dr Katherine Granger MBE.

‘Kate was a doctor, but also a terminally ill cancer patient’, Dr Thurecht says.

‘The #hellomynameis campaign originated in an unpleasant experience that Kate and Chris had in hospital in 2013. Kate was in pain and feeling low, with her discomfort and frustration made worse by the fact that quite a few staff had failed to introduce themselves.’

‘Kate had written extensively on her experience as a patient within the healthcare system, and had built a large social media following. The couple decided that rather than complain they would start a social media campaign, based on caring.

‘The message of the #hellomynameis campaign is about reminding healthcare staff to introduce themselves to patients, and use the opportunity of introducing themselves to help build a relationship with their patients’, Dr Thurecht said.

The campaign became stunningly successful, raising $655,000 to date for charity. The campaign operates in 20 countries worldwide.

‘The key to the success of #hellomynameis lies in its simplicity’, Chris Pointon says.

‘Introducing yourself takes very little time to do, it is relatable, costs little money, helps build trust and is the start of a therapeutic relationship between two people. It is about common courtesy really.’

‘Many of us think we are courteous and communicate well, but if you stop and think about it, maybe we are not.

‘Communication takes many forms and is not just verbal—facial expressions, eye contact, gestures and postures should not be defensive or intimidating. Little things like sitting down next to a patient so you are at the same eye level rather than looming over them at the end of the bed makes a big difference.’

‘The campaign is about people who are willing and wanting to connect with patients in a meaningful way—and so many organisations have chosen to make this part of their culture, to add it to their office signature, or make it part of their name badges.

‘Many patient surveys have shown improvements in patient experience since the introduction of the campaign. More survey results are coming in, but my message to all healthcare workers remains: “Why would you not want to introduce yourselves?”.’

Dr Kate Granger MBE died on 23 July 2016.

Chris Pointon will be speaking at the 2018 World Hospital Congress(link is external) in Brisbane, 10–12 October 2018.

The #hellomynameis story: ‘Through adversity comes legacy’ is available here(link is external).

More information on the #hellomynameis campaign is available here(link is external).

For more information on the AHHA, visit http://ahha.asn.au

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, and community and primary healthcare services.