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Posted on 12.23.2014

Humor Is a Powerful Tool in Healthcare Communications

Last year at this time, I shared some shopping advice for anyone looking for that last minute gift for the hard-to-buy-for medical coder, or hospital and clinical billing office team. I recommendedStruck by Orca,” a humorous book of 32 color and black and white images illustrating some of the most unusual new ICD-10 codes.

This year I continue my holiday tradition and am happy to report the folks who brought you Orca have followed up their 2013 debut with yet another sure-fire stocking stuffer. This time they are tackling Meaningful Use Stage 2 (MU2) with “MU2 Illustrated.”

The authors describe the book as a complete account of the Meaningful Use Stage 2 objectives, measures and exclusions as issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in October 2012. The book is illustrated by a diverse group ranging from professional artists to healthcare professionals.

To give you an idea, one excerpt from the book explains the MU2 objective to “use secure electronic messaging to communicate with patients on relevant health information,” with an illustration of a physician strapping a carrier pigeon to a desktop computer and tossing it out the window.

The team has also branched out to include a deck of ICD-10-themed playing cards called “ICD-10 The Gathering,” a word play on the popular wizard battle trading card game “Magic: The Gathering.”

All these items bring attention to the fact that humor can help educate and communicate, especially in the healthcare industry where federally mandated, often complicated, initiatives like ICD-10 and Meaningful Use overlap and compliance deadlines are a moving target. Healthcare professionals can get bogged down at the thought of the time and financial commitments required to undertake these initiatives.

And while these tools can be used as funny gag gifts, they can also be used in a professional setting to reinforce and add levity to other training efforts.

As I said last year, a book of funny illustrations is not the end-all-be-all to healthcare communications, but it is a good sign of the possibilities that exist when we think creatively.

Have you found a unique and creative way to communicate within your organization? We’d love to learn your thoughts and best practices in the comments.



Amanda Anderson is a senior account supervisor at Lovell Communications. You can view more of Amanda’s blogs here. Connect with Amanda at amanda@lovell.com or @AmanderTN.

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