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Health Quality Conversations: A New Way to Tell Our Story

Using video blogs to get to the heart of health quality.

“Stories or narratives seem antithetical to today’s emphasis on evidence-based clinical practice. They offer no statistical power, no data to repeat and confirm. But what narratives have, over all other forms of research, is the ability to get to the heart of the experience.”1

The quote above is excerpted from a thoughtful piece that appeared in a prominent health policy journal several years ago. In it, author Dr. Pauline W. Chen explores the value of telling stories in the health care setting. Chen is also a surgeon, and in her piece she makes the case that using personal stories from her operating room contributes to positive changes in health care by bringing data to life.

Statistics and data can be illuminating, but so often it’s the person behind the numbers that sparks the kind of conversations that inspire us as a system to change.

Like Chen, I decided to start blogging here at Health Quality Ontario (HQO) to add another voice to the reports and products we produce. I’ve also used this blog as a platform to explore topics that interest me, like, transparency and accountability, the patient experience, and learning from failure.

Building on my written work, I have decided to add a series of short video blogs: Health Quality Conversations. I hope these videos will give me a chance to share my thoughts using a new method, because, as Chen argues, it is important to tell stories in many different ways.

HQO is the provincial advisor on quality in health care, but we’re more than that. And that’s why in my first Health Quality Conversation, included below, I wanted to start the series by answering the question, “Who is Health Quality Ontario?”

Video Blog Transcript

In the next few weeks I’ll post more video conversations continuing to set the stage by talking a bit more about HQO and the work we do, before delving into topics such as my perspective on quality, system-wide integration, equity, and leadership. This is just the start of new storytelling at HQO, and I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Let me end this blog with another great line from Chen’s story. “…Narrative is as powerful as any health care intervention; it is the one language that all of us – health care worker and lay person – share.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my first video blog and why storytelling is important to you. Please Tweet me @DrJoshuaTepper or email

1Chen, P.W. 2008. Narrative Matters: “Stories beyond the box.” Health Affairs; 27 (4): 1148-53.
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