The entire concept of putting someone at the center is crossing both my worlds today. First it was Bernard Bull talking about how Great Teachers are Not Rock Stars and encourage us to put learners at the center. Then it was various folks at Medicine X tweeting about the need to put the patient at the center.
The problem with people any group at the center, is that it is privileging that group at a cost to those not in the group. It is a good first step towards fixing a hierarchy problem – in that we move from teacher-centered to student-centered and physician-centered to patient-centered. It recognized the power imbalance – however, it doesn’t really fix the balance. It causes the pendulum to swing the other way. It causes a whole new level of privilege and resentment.
We need to stop talking about “centered” and start talking about networked. We need to do thing that facilitating networking. For example, Medicine X has special tables for the ePatients. This means that the ePatient get to know each other and talk to each other. It doesn’t help the ePatients talk to health professionals. It puts the ePatients at the center but doesn’t help them get networks. Now putting two or three ePatients at each table would help with networking. It would mean that they would have to interact with one another – to talk to each other. It would foster a network.
When we talk about education and we talk about healthcare, we are in a much better position if we are helping people connect with one another, rather than encouraging the silos that we keep talking about the need to break down.
It is time to start moving beyond the ‘center’.