The IDEO Design Challenge

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 [...] continue the story

Is Seeing the Doctor 400 Times Too Much?

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 to being involved in a clinical trial was a conversation with a trials nurse who said “Why aren’t you doing the injecting yourself?” A classic “Had I But Known” was my answer. If I had had the faintest hint that I could have been doing it on my own I would have. This author was one of the queens of the HIBK (Had I But Known) genre That marked the last time I had someone else take care of my injections. Now with social media, people who are connected to other patients can find that answer much faster than I did.

Thinking of how many [...] continue the story

Do It Yourself Management of Chronic Disease

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 I have learned on Twitter. That is that health literacy is the greatest predictor of health. In this context literacy means Grade 8 or better education. I would go further and say that with a chronic disease you need to be able to do even more – you need to learn the medical vocabulary of your disease so that the appointments you have with doctors are as effective as possible. Many of us have likely had the experience of having to wait for the next appointment to decide on a course of action because we needed time to educate ourselves on the choices [...] continue the story

Identity and Work (Permanent labor force non-participation)

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. When the company owner found true love (and busted up two marriages in the process) two of us there decided that we could do the job so we made a deal to buy the company. It is so much easier to be the boss. Management accommodates your every need. I had a great collection of suns and garage sale art and really enjoyed talking to our clients and solving their problems. There was some friction. My partner at one point said that if she had known the extent to which RA would affect me she never would have gone ahead with the partnership. [...] continue the story