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Our health industry expert and Managing Director, Kalen Stanton, continues this blogcast (podcast + blog), In Light of Change, and builds further on the why of change. In this episode, two health industry leaders bring to light the essentials of telling a compelling story by using the right data, focusing on the other humans in the conversation, and ultimately building the trust that will unlock successful change. Below is a summary of the episode – featuring Dr. Alison Tothy from the University of Chicago and Eric Passon of Ancore Health – on sharing compelling and meaningful stories with data.

What you’ll hear:

  • Stories can be better with numbers, but numbers are always better with stories.
  • Trustworthy data needs to come from a “single source of truth.”
  • Getting to the desired change requires getting past the “n” of your data.
  • Data is personal – so make it personal.
  • You don’t have to be a physician or stay in a Holiday Inn Express to tell the story.

Listen to the full conversation here.

Why Your Data Story Is Really About Trust
With Dr. Alison Tothy, Eric Passon, and Kalen Stanton

Our latest In Light of Change exploration features fellow change leaders Dr. Alison Tothy and Eric Passon. Dr. Tothy is a Pediatric Emergency Medicine physician and was previously the Chief Experience Officer at the University of Chicago, and Eric is the founder and CEO of Ancore Health, a health care data strategy firm. Talk about a powerful duo.

The meaning of the data gets lost when it’s presented in isolation.

Personally, it was very exciting to have these two experts come together to discuss how health care leaders can be more effective in building trust with data by honing their storytelling skills. With all the amazing technology and experts out there, including Eric’s firm, there’s almost an unlimited amount of rich health care data available. But as you’ll hear these experts discuss, the meaning of the data gets lost when it’s presented in isolation. Share that same intel in a story that draws on a single source of truth while also crossing a critical emotional bridge, and you can make a really big impact.

Throughout this interview, Dr. Tothy shares her point of view on how storytelling can be very effective in unifying people across all aspects of a health care organization and, most importantly, in driving change. She believes that telling a compelling story that is relatable and personal – getting “past the n” of statistical proof – is the best way to achieve organizational change. Because it’s ultimately about trust.

Eric echoes this sentiment and gives his thoughts on the value that reliable, trustworthy, and clean data as a “single source of truth” is critical to storytelling – with physicians, nurses, administrators, board members, patients, and families, among others. He believes successful stories also need visualizations that can resonate with people across all areas of an organization. A nonclinical expert, Eric joins our conversation as a partner to health care organizations, but he is still very much connected to the mission and passion that health leaders embody. He shares that “even though we’re not laying hands on patients or in the room with the patient, the nonclinical staff within the organization should have that connection to the overall vision and mission of the health system or medical group.”

As the topic of data is discussed, Dr. Tothy shares that “it’s important to not dumb down any data, but instead have experts share the meaning behind any complex information in a way that is understandable by all.” She also points out how each individual needs to connect their own why to that story and how data needs to “help care teams remember why they went into health care to begin with…. It’s not just about using data to tell a story; incorporating [their own] real-time care team stories into conversation is really key too.”

There’s no denying that. It’s the combination of data and real-life anecdotes – reaching your mind and your emotions – that creates impact and helps encourage engagement change.

Listen to the full conversation here.

What do you want to have a conversation about as you explore health care’s unknown future? Send Kalen ( and the team a note here as we continue to build our calendar of exciting guests in the coming year.


September 26, 2019


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