My father called my attention to this week’s Sunday Dilbert cartoon:
It’s probably intended to point out that when we ask a co-worker “How are you?” we’re not really expecting an answer, just an acknowledgment of the question (“Fine”).
But my father, newly sensitized to contextualization of care, saw that the bearded co-worker is pouring out critical life context here — which Dilbert proceeds to ignore.
The flavor is very much like the examples we’ve seen in our recordings of physician-patient encounters in which a patient drops a clear clue that life context may be impacting his/her health, and a physician proceeds blithely to the next item on the checklist on the electronic medical record computer screen. Would you be surprised to learn that Dilbert’s co-worker’s previously well-controlled diabetes has taken a turn for the worse?