Episode 155

How Data and Details Can Tell Real Stories in Healthcare

It’s 1990. Five days after my moped accident with a cement truck, I wake up in my hospital room. The doctor comes in and says, “Kymberlee, you’re going to have headaches for likely the rest of your life. You’ll probably have trouble with balance too. You’ll need plastic surgery on your face. And you may have lost your sense of taste and smell forever.”

I’m thinking, “How is this possible?” I can deal with all the other things he said and anything else I have to do. Yet how could I have lost two of my senses forever?

I spend weeks and months trying to make sense of it and trying to get my senses back. I’m doing everything I can to taste or smell something–anything–again. Nothing works.

A few more months go by when I’m at a different doctor’s office for a checkup. I tell him what’s going on and ask why it’s happening to me. He explains to me:

“Our brains are connected to cranial nerves that affect our taste and smell. If those nerves are slightly damaged, they can grow back. If they’re severed, however, there’s nothing that can be done.”

So my cranial nerves are severed. Despite not liking hearing that news, it finally helps me understand the story of what’s going on in my body. And knowing that… changes everything.

My special guest today, Amy Zolotow, is a healthcare operations leader who thrives on finding the real story in the data. In this episode of the Storytelling School Podcast, you’ll learn about storytelling within the healthcare space as it relates to data, connections, and humans in the medical field. You’ll also get answers to questions like:

How does learning the stories of the people around you in a time of crisis help you (and them) after? How does story help bridge the disconnection gap people have with data in the healthcare industry? What role does artificial intelligence (AI) play in the story of patients and practitioners in healthcare?

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How a deceased loved one’s story can be changed through your memories
  • Why you sometimes need to dig beyond the data to find the full story
  • How important AI is for the story of the healthcare industry, now and in the future

Who is Amy Zolotow?

An accomplished healthcare operations leader, Amy Zolotow thrives in complexity. Whether leading cross-functional teams or finding the real story in data, Amy drives lasting change in dynamic, matrixed healthcare environments. She consistently strives for shared language, community building, and technology adoption–all with an eye on the most effective patient and employee experience.

Amy’s work at the operational level has explored the impact of AI, matching organizational and human needs to technological merit. She has lent her expertise as a moderator and speaker at Ai4 and a panelist and Ambassador for AIMed, leading vital discussions on the importance of responsible and thoughtful AI adoption and implementation in healthcare.

Her career includes business and operational leadership roles at Johns Hopkins International, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Mercy Personal Physicians. Currently, she also serves as a Healthcare Advisor at ScaleHealth and Principal Solutions Architect, Healthcare and AI at Synthminds.

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