The Design Track for ePatients at the Stanford Medicine X Conference this year was an experience that demonstrated the value of teamwork. Where else could you see a cardiac surgeon, a researcher, GP doctors and a venture capitalist working with a patient to find answers to a health problem posed by a patient?
This is the way the challenge worked: two months before the MedX Conference the patients involved submitted problem statements to Dennis Boyle and his team at IDEO; participants got a shorter list back with requests for clarification and also received background links about design thinking and a copy of the book Creative Confidence Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All.
To start our day at IDEO we had a tour. The company has done amazing work in design and their workplace is full of people doing work that they love. Then we broke up into teams and I presented my ‘How Might We’ problem statements. We had a terrific facilitator, Tanya Rinderknecht, who nudged us back on track when we started to get too ambitious.
In design thinking there is much consultation and questioning with the users of the potential solution. The statement the team chose to work on was “How might we convey new symptoms to Doctors and be believed. I find that when symptoms don’t fit the mold, it’s back to the same round of doctors for the same verdicts and no progress.”
Through the intensive questioning, brainstorming, conceptualizing and prototyping the whole team kept on moving ahead and making steady progress. What we came up with as a solution is a patient toolbox. All five patients involved at IDEO presented what they learned as well as describing their team’s prototypes on the main stage at MedX.
I was lucky enough to have one of our ‘Tools’ to demonstrate. Here are the signs we made to communicate with doctors in certain situations. (I would want to have a good relationship with a doctor before I started to use these unexpectedly) Another use would be for doctors to adopt some of them and give them to patients for use in their appointments. With these signs health literacy is not an issue.
Here they are with some short explanations:
Studies show that patients are usually interrupted by the doctor within 11 to 18 seconds. This is a “Please don’t interrupt me so soon”
Yes, I am interested in that treatment but what about side effects?
“But doctor I’m in pain. Can you help me?”
“Please slow down. I need to understand.”
“Will this affect my sex life?” (a difficult topic for some doctors to raise)
Yes, I’ll try this for now, but what about the future?”
“Doctor. You’ve got it. Thank you.”
“Thumbs up on a great job.” (Note: This can be turned upside down when appropriate)
You can feel free to copy these pictures for your own signs, or use them as the prototypes that they are. I’ve already had a suggestion for another sign: A picture of a brain and the words “I have a brain.” Feel free to add more sign ideas in the comments.
Dennis Boyle of IDEO graciously gave the go ahead to post these signs. I will have more posts about IDEO. Our team produced three more tools and the conclusions I reached based on this experience were illuminating.
Anet has had rheumatoid arthritis for 30 years. She spent the last 20 working full time in market research. Now health advocacy and the quality of life with chronic illness are major interests. “It’s great to have time to blog and tweet and go out for lunch”. Follow her on Twitter @anetto
- More from Here’s Your Gold Watch – Rheutired
Wednesday, 7 January 2015 Late last year I was pleased to be invited to attend a conference called "Reaching the Summit: Leading the way from Interprofessional Education to Practice". Having patients included with educators and practitioners meant that the healthcare stakeholders sitting around the table were representative of more of the members involved in the health team. It was a little disconcerting when I looked back at the list of Summit Registrants prior to writing this post and saw that under the title and the occupation columns the patients were all listed as "Patient Guests" in both columns. That seems Read More…
The Design Track for ePatients at the Stanford Medicine X Conference this year was an experience that demonstrated the value of teamwork. Where else could you see a cardiac surgeon, a researcher, GP doctors and a venture capitalist working with a patient to find answers to a health problem posed by a patient? This is the way the challenge worked: two months before the MedX Conference the patients involved submitted problem statements to Dennis Boyle and his team at IDEO; participants got a shorter list back with requests for clarification and also received background links about design thinking and a Read More…
This is a cautionary story of how it can be expensive in time as well as money to know too little about your own health and treatments. The 400 visits in the title is what it is because for seven years I went to the doctor's office for weekly injections of methotrexate. Year after year I dealt with snow, rain, ice storms, paying for parking, dealing with the difficult receptionist and wasting time waiting. The only positive side is that I now know my doctor very well. After that endurance contest I can say that for me the biggest advantage Read More…
There are many stories about waste in healthcare. Some are ridiculous and some are based on misunderstandings and lack of knowledge. Here's my waste story: While I was being treated for RA, injectable methotrexate was prescribed for me because the pills caused too much nausea. The shots were intramuscular and I assumed that I needed to have a doctor administer the injections just like with gold shots. So every Wednesday afternoon I would leave work early, go to the doctors office, park and wait (and wait). This went on for seven years. That means 364+ extra doctor visits and at Read More…
10 ways to maintain a sense of Control with a chronic illness It's easier to cope with chronic illness if you feel that you have some control over your life and your health. Feeling that everything is just spinning away from you makes life more difficult. Here are my first and best so far ideas. More suggestions are always welcome for a list like this. Please leave them in the comments. We all love to hear tips. With chronic illness you are forced to be your health manager so it is up to you to gather information and to make Read More…
We can't manage our chronic disease by ourselves, unless we quickly graduate from medical school and then become specialists. That's not too likely with a new diagnosis that has an impact on your health. etsy NostalgicLinks However, to take a guess, even average people don't see doctors much more than two hours over a year. And that may be a high estimate. But even if you spent a whole 24 hours out of your year seeing doctors and other health care professionals, that leaves you with the other 364 days to take care of yourself. There is one thing Read More…
When I was diagnosed with RA I was working part time in a bank as a customer service representative. The friendships with people I had known for years and with fellow workers were important to me. But with RA fatigue and bad feet it became difficult to do that job as RA progressed. It was a gradual change but continuous and unwelcome. A TD Bank in New York. Surprised to see familiar company elsewhere. I started working part time in market research at that point and found a sit down job on the phone was far more possible for me. Read More…