Hello, my name is Chris Pointon (@pointonchris) and I am the co-founder of the #hellomynameis campaign and husband of the late Dr. Kate Granger MBE. My inspiring wife was a doctor but also a terminally ill cancer patient who was diagnosed with a desmoplastic small round cell tumour in 2011. Her experience on the other side (as a doctor turned patient) resulted in her inspiring many thousands of people across the world through the writing of two books (theothersidestory.co.uk), our tireless fundraising for charity (to date we have raised over £340,000), her dedication to healthcare and the #hellomynameis campaign that we founded almost 5 years ago now.
Her values and beliefs were around how effective communication is key in healthcare alongside the little things that make a huge difference to patient care and recognising the individual as a person and not just an illness – keeping them at the centre of all decisions.
How did the #hellomynameis campaign start?
The campaign came out of a hospital admission that Kate and I experienced in 2013. It became apparent after quite a few which was really getting to Kate because she was feeling quite low and her pain was increasing. When we talked about it that evening and Kate was moaning about it somewhat, I just said to her, “Darling, stop whinging and let’s do something about it”, let’s use your social media presence and come up with a campaign – let’s call it something like ‘#hellomynameis’ – and it was born.
Kate already had a large Twitter following, so we felt we could use the power of social media to get the message out. At the start, we thought this would be a two-week, two-month, or maybe six-month phenomena. But look how far it has come! We now operate in over 20 countries across 6 continents and receive many plaudits across the globe for a simple campaign that has revolutionised global healthcare
The campaign probably shouldn’t have been needed in the first place as many of us think we’re courteous and communicate well, but if you stop and think about it, maybe we aren’t. That’s why this campaign continues to be so important for health care and wider industries across the world.
Why is it so successful?
It takes very little time to do, helps build trust and is the start of a therapeutic relationship between 2 persons – common courtesy really.
The amount of uptake from the very start, within the NHS first and foremost, then across the world has been unbelievable. My ambition now is to keep spreading the message across as many health care and other establishments as I can, making sure that organizations embed the change into their culture.
But change takes time
It can take several months, if not years, to embed change into an organization, but such a simple change with such a simple message can have a huge impact. I think that’s why so many organizations have chosen to make this part of their culture, to add it to their office signature, or make it part of their name badges. The campaign is about people who are willing and wanting to connect with patients in a meaningful way.
Kate died in July 2016 on our 11th wedding anniversary however the legacy she leaves is immense and includes various awards across the world named after her to recognise individuals and teams that exude compassionate care and really live and breathe the values that Kate stood for.
Despite the adversity Kate still created an amazing legacy that will be here for not just our generation but for many generations to come.