Elements of a Good Observation

Observing a consultation at a sub-centre

With a week into clinical immersion, it was time to discuss and reflect on the observations made by the fellowship.

Dr. Prashant Jha
Look at this observation 'There was a long queue in the OPD'. This looks more like a complain than an in-depth observation. There are many one-line observations which will not be helpful in deriving insights in the long run. Lots of the observations lack the nuanced details of what you saw and heard.

‘A good observation must have these key elements When, Who, How and What.’

Karthik
Based on our discussions we have segregated our preliminary observations into different clinical specialties (or buckets) like Emergency, Ortho, Infectious diseases, etc. The preliminary observations will help us get insights into various clinical specialties and decide the area we want to focus on.

Dr. Jha
There would be many factors deciding what clinical speciality you work on. While funding velocity, government push, and magnitude of problem are the usual markers, we pay special attention to what strikes a chord with you. An intersection of what touches you deeply, a well-funded space and a compelling clinical problem should help you choose your strategic area of focus.
You need to choose your preferences based on the what you have seen in the immersion phase only. There is no point in choosing your preferred area which is outside the immersion area. It should be a need driven approach rather than a personal wish list or an assumption.

Karthik
So, how should we use these factors to choose an area?

Dr. Jha
Pick an area which touched you the most, with which you could empathize, which could arouse a curiosity in you. Then deep dive into the observations made in that area and start asking the Why. Finding the answers to the why will help you understand the observations and bucket them.

‘Pick an area of focus which
touched you the most.’

We went on to read more about the disease cases we observed so that we can unearthdeeper problems and not just obvious problems. We continued our immersion process in the next week in as more aware observers.

...from the notebook of Karthik P B