Illness narratives in practice: which question do we have to face when collecting and using them?

Lucius-Hoene, Gabriele; Breuning, Martina; Helfferich, Cornelia (2018). In: Lucius-Hoene, Gabriele; Holmberg,Christine; Meyer, Thorsten (Hg.): Illness Narratives in Practice. Potentials and Challanges of Using Narratives in Health-related Contexts. Oxford University Press, 13-26

What is it like to live with an illness? How do diagnostic procedures, treatments, and other encounters with medical institutions affect a patient’s private and social life? By asking these types of questions, illness narratives have gained a reputation as a scientific domain in medicine in the last thirty years. Today, a patient’s story plays an important role in doctor-patient communication and the development of a healing relationship.
However, whereas patient experiences have been well acknowledged, methodologically reflected upon and widely collected as research data, less consideration has been invested in exploring how they work in practice. Used in the context of diagnosis, treatment, and teaching, patient stories give us a new perspective on how healthcare could be improved.