Applied narrative medicine and its economic and relational benefits: interview to Angela Pia Bellettieri, Healthcare Management.

We host the interview of Angela Pia Bellettieri, Corporate Manager of Quality Management, Risk Management and Accreditation at the Hospital of San Carlo di Potenza, regarding the practical application of Narrative Medicine.


Why apply narrative medicine to the hospital?

The hospital is the place where healthcare professionals and patients meet. If we think of these meetings, the studies tell us that they are increasingly technical, fast and maybe a little cold. Narrative medicine can be an instrument to reduce distances and to make the patient’s deepening of the history of his life more able to provide health professionals with better knowledge of the patient and not just of the illness he is about to cure.


What are the advantages of narrative medicine and its limits?

The benefits are so many and now well-know: the more in-depth knowledge of the patient allows to improve the diagnosis, consolidate the confidence, and strengthen the much desired therapeutic alliance. As far as the limits are concerned, the only limit I can make is that it is application-specific because today it is still very different for operators to think that this type of planning takes a lot of time and a lot of workload.


Do you think narrative medicine can bring economic benefits or is it a superfluous cost?

Unnecessary costs, I would not say it! Instead, there are economic benefits. If we only think about the sphere of medical-legal disputes, it is not difficult to understand how to often lead to litigation is the lack of trust that could remedy a more relational type of medicine.


Narrative Medicine: It has been shown that there are fewer complaints as there has been an improvement in communication between health professionals and patients. Is this statement true in its structure?

I can only confirm it. We know how and how much communication can affect throughout the therapeutic course. In communication, there are many relevant factors, primarily the language and often the language used by the operators may be overly technical. How many times do patients come home with the doubt that they have not understood everything? Therefore, to get closer to the communicative aspect, with a quality communication, not fast and attentive to our interlocutor, can only create less doubts and misunderstandings that could result in future claims.


Have you experienced narrative medicine experiences within your facility?

Yes, by 2015. We have adopted this tool in several Operating Units in each of which we focused on a single dimension such as the difficulty of sharing our suffering on the oncologist or how to create loyalty to a chronic condition of traumatological patient. The emerging dimensions were the basis for building training courses for healthcare professionals aiming at deepening these issues in a complex and customized way of care.


Written by

Degree in Political Science, Master in Health Management at SDA Bocconi in Milan. He developed research project, training and consultancy in healthcare organizations. He is professor of organization and health politics. In recent years he focused his interest on sustainability and personalization of care through the narrative approach. He has authored various project research, articles and essays on these topics. He is Director of the Health Area of the ISTUD Foundation, member of the Board of the Italian Society of Narrative Medicine.

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