From cartoons to cooking classes, pediatricians get creative to engage patients

Patient-centered care
Doctors need to get creative to engage patients, says pediatrician Diana Lerner, M.D.

Two pediatricians are thinking outside the box to engage their patients and their parents.

In Wisconsin, Diana Lerner, M.D., is making cartoon videos to teach her young patients about their medical care, according to the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle.

Lerner, a pediatric gastroenterologist and an assistant professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, says the cartoons work so well she wants to spread the idea to other doctors.


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She says her goal is for the videos—which cover topics including endoscopy and how white blood cells work—to be accurate and explanatory, but also fun and interesting. The content is approved by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

“We need to make [patient education] memorable," she told the publication. "We have to get people to engage.”

RELATED: The biggest barrier to improving patient engagement—time

And in Virginia, pediatrician Nimali Fernando, M.D., also known as "Dr. Yum," offers cooking classes at Dr. Yum Pediatrics, according to VOA News.

The practice is half doctor’s office, with the typical waiting area and exam rooms, but also half kitchen. In the exam room, Fernando talks to patients and parents about the importance of eating nutritious food. In the kitchen, she shows them how to prepare those meals to establish good eating habits.

With 30% of children in the U.S. fighting obesity, Fernando said there’s a need for education. Even children who aren’t overweight can have health symptoms often traced back some way to their diet, she said.

She and her team hope to inspire pediatricians around the country to start cooking lessons to show families the importance of good nutrition.

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