From Consultation to Care Conversation: unlocking the power of conversation as a therapeutic tool for a post COVID world.

Ethnographic research in the Pain Unit in Hospital Clínic de Barcelona to observe doctor-patient-caregiver interactions during consultation (2017).

Ingredients for a good Care Conversation.

To sustain a coherent and confident dialogue is not always an easy and smooth experience in life, but it’s especially challenging when dealing with the kind of complex topics that arise in healthcare encounters. Every doctor-patient interaction is wrapped up in emotions. One of the main drivers that form and inform the conversation on both sides is fear: a subconscious feeling coming from the anxiety to interact –will I be able to express what I need to say?–, the insecurity to assert –am I entitled to say this?– and the existential doubts about the inner self –will I be seen as ill forever?, if I’m wrong, will my professional identity be threatened? (Fischer and Ereaut 2012).

Primary care visits compared to other care delivery methods in Catalonia during COVID19 for the period March 01, 2020, and April 19, 2020. ©Pol Pérez Sust, Oscar Solans, Joan Carles Fajardo, Manuel Medina Peralta, Pepi Rodenas, Jordi Gabaldà, Luis Garcia Eroles, Adrià Comella, César Velasco Muñoz, Josuè Sallent Ribes, Rosa Roma Monfa, Jordi Piera-Jimenez. Originally published in JMIR Public Health and Surveillance (, 04.05.2020.

Care Conversations in the time of COVID19.

In light of the recent crisis context, we decided to interview Dr. Dürsteler, Head of the Pain Unit in Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, and Jordi Piera, Chief of the Digital Health Strategy Office at the Catalan Health Service (CatSalut) to reflect together upon the influence of the pandemic in the Care Conversations of today, and tomorrow.

Image 3. Infographic tools for doctors and patients with tips and guidelines for a better video consultation experience published by CatSalut during COVID19 (Public Healthcare Agency in Catalonia).
Transforming the consultation room to create more intimate, safe, and comforting spaces for more compassionate conversations.

Why Design Thinking matters now.

Design Thinking is a human-centered innovation methodology that has become increasingly applied in healthcare product, service, and system innovation over the last several years (Kim, Myers & Allen 2017). Its starting point is a deep understanding of human needs — patients, caregivers, and professionals — followed by idea generation, rapid prototyping, and iterative testing towards a final solution.

Let’s talk about the New Normal.

As mentioned before, there is now a shared appetite and intention amongst patients and healthcare professionals to maintain open these digital communication channels as we move into the so-called New Normal. But what might it mean for Care Conversations?

Patient and clinician using a shared decision-making tool. Image courtesy of Mayo Clinic Shared Decision Making National Resource Center.

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The Care Lab

The Care Lab


A network of activists initiating a movement to transform Care, driving change through human-centered design practices in the health, social & education domains