Sense-making literally means making sense of events. A typical conversation during our day is a simple exchange of information or feelings. Sense-making conversations are different in that they are reflective and often generative, with participants’ ideas informing and building on one another. The main result: Participants arrive at a common understanding of what the events and data mean—for them, for their patients, for health care—and have a foundation for taking action.
In the case of medical overuse, care providers may leave a sense-making conversation with the shared understanding of how they contribute to the overuse of a particular service and the degree to which their patients are exposed to potential harm. Through further discussion they may develop new ideas and approaches for reducing the unnecessary overuse of a particular service—and begin to act on them.
Read more about the conceptual underpinnings of sense-making conversations in “Sensemaking of Patient Safety Risks and Hazards.” (Battles, J.B. etal. (2006). Health Services Research. Aug; 41(4 Pt 2): 1555–1575.)