Maureen Bisognano: How WMTY Started

Several years ago, I read an article by Susan Edgman-Levitan and Michael Barry, “Shared Decision Making-The Pinnacle of Patient-Centered Care” and one line in this New England Journal of Medicine article resonated deeply with me. In the piece, the authors say that we can’t only ask a patient “what’s the matter?”  We also need to ask, “what matters to you?”

WMTY er en forkortelse for What Matters to You. På dansk: Hvad er vigtigt for dig?
Læs mere om Hvad er vigtigt for dig?

At the IHI/BMJ International Forum a few weeks later in Paris, I challenged the thousands of clinicians and health care leaders in the room to do just that. And they did. From Jen Rodgers in Glasgow to Anders Vege in Norway to Shaun Maher in Scotland and Kris Vanhaecht in Belgium and Isabela Castro in Brazil and so many more, these amazing and compassionate people found that asking patients and their team members “what matters to you?” changed the way they designed care with patients and families and gave them new meaning in their work each day. They found each other and began to share the experiences and enthusiasm as they built this question into their daily work. And their energy started a movement, beginning in Norway on a June day in 2014.

Since then, these leaders have built a global strategy to honor the power of the question on June 6th each year. Last year, tens of thousands of people from over 2000 organizations in 31 countries around the world shared in the passion that comes from compassion and kindness. The stories from this day fill my heart with joy. Galina Gheihman and Cynthia Cooper, two physicians at Massachusetts General Hospital developed the Kind Care Bundle. They noted that we have ventilator bundles and central line bundles, but nothing is so important as kindness. Take a few minutes and watch this video on what can happen when you ask, “what makes a good day for you?”

Video from The Conversation Project: A Soul Doctor and a Jazz Singer 

Kindness and compassion might seem like asking more than you can give, but I challenge us all to take the first step and join us! June 6th, 2019 …together, we can change the world.