Category Archives: #hospitals

The Patient Waiting Room Rethought

Photo curtesy of Joseph Babaian (@JoeBabaian)

Yesterday Joe sent this tweet asking the #HCLDR family their opinions on the opportunities for improving the design within the above spaces.

My initial gut reaction, as many other people, was in pointing out the obvious. Things such as the TV, the picture on the wall, the chairs, the framed signed on the table, a lamp that is off, etc.

I even questioned the need for a waiting room? In theory, no patient should have to wait, and therefore, the waiting room could be eliminated.

As I began to ponder the question during my 2 hour drive today, I began to reframe the question in my mind.

Instead of asking what is wrong with the space or how to improve the design or the need for a waiting room, I started to think about challenges patients highlight.

Topics that we discuss during the weekly chats of #HCLDR.

What if we reframe and ask ourselves the following:

How can we help patients connect with one another?

In thinking about the space above (left picture specifically), I would rearrange the furniture to be in small circles or groups versus in a line.

Perhaps instead of the local news or Ellen on the TV I would show video’s from YouTube about nutrition, or the clinicians, or an important topic that is relevant to the community of patients congregating.

Maybe I would have a social worker in the space to help facilitate sharing, asking questions, and prepping/introducing those new patients with those that are coming back for a follow up.

Maybe the space should be more about sharing our stories, our common experiences, our fears, our questions with one another and use it as a learning opportunity? Maybe this is the space where we impact health literacy. Or address access to improved nutrition. Or share resources within the community.

Perhaps the space has nothing to do with waiting, but everything with building a tribe of patients that share a common thread and can learn from one each other’s experience.

Perhaps knowing a patient like me, the one sitting next to me, helps me realize that we do things like this.

We connect. We share. We learn. We grow.

Perhaps care at the N of 1 begins by connecting patients in the waiting room?

Let’s rename it the sharing room.

As always you can feel free to email me at or follow me on Twitter @cancergeek



What Are These Coins? The My Ideal Patient Experience Project


Have you seen these wooden nickels? What is with all of these wooden coins?

Let me tell you a story…..

Late in 2014 I attended the MedX conference in which I was able to meet one of my virtual mentors, Marie Ennis-O’Connor (@JBBC). During those few days I had the privilege of listening to all of the patient experts. I also was able to meet others such as Janet Freeman-Daily (@JFreemanDaily), Casey Quinlan (@MightyCasey) and Annette (@anetto).

What stood out to me was how well versed everyone was in their own diagnosis. I also reflected on my own success in healthcare, and that it all pointed back to my ability to connect and co-create with patients.

Inspiration struck. I articulated to Marie several ideas I had on how to change healthcare. I wanted to change the paradigm on how healthcare works with patients. For far too long patients have been on the outside looking in, and when they are invited, it is more as an after thought.

I wanted to demonstrate that Janet, Annette, Britt, Casey, Marie, and many others are more than just patients, they are experts in their diagnosis. That expertise is worth something, and it needs to be acknowledged.

I quickly reached out and put together my board of advisers. Yes, they are all patients.

Over the course of the next year I worked through multiple iterations.

Then one fateful night in March I wrote a post entitled: An Anti-Patient Experience In Cancer. (Find post here) Which led Dr. Gia Sison (@GiaSison) to reach out to me and ask, do we truly understand what an “Ideal Patient Experience” is from the vantage point of patients?

My response was, I think I have an idea, but we should test, confirm, and gain some additional insight from patients on what their definition is of and ideal patient experience.

We created the #MyIdealPtExp and registered it with Symplur.

Over the course of the next 6 months we tracked, generated, and gained additional insights. This helped to confirm a few thoughts as well as added a few more to the project.

Which led me to asking the question….

How do we take the conversation, ideas, thoughts, and insights from our social identities and turn them into actionable change in the physical world of healthcare?

Hence, the new project: (site under construction, but please go check it out and sign up!!)

This is a team of patient experts and healthcare industry “insiders” (like me) to form a team of people to take on projects. Projects that will truly transform healthcare.

Our use cases range from the Ministry of Health (tackling cancer in China and Africa-current project), Radiology (creating an improved “patient experience” and new business models-pending projects), Hospitals and healthcare systems (co-designing Patient Advisory Boards; co-creating new programs for obesity/cancer/etc; technology investment) to Medical Technology Companies (market research-pending project; advisory boards).

The coins….well the coins are extremely special to me.

Everyone talks about incentives. Everyone talks about time. Patients, Physicians, Payers, Politicians…everyone has limited time. Yet time is the one thing that is the most valuable.

What if we could get back to focusing on the basics of medicine? What if we could encourage and reward the patient and physician for focusing on spending the time, to build the trust, leading to transparent conversations on health and care, and then teams work to manage the transitions?

What if we could reward one another for focusing on what matters most to patients? To physicians? Could we also then benefit payers and politicians, maybe even pharma and medical technology companies?

So in the spirit of thinking differently, causing a ruckus, and doing work that matters, I created a social currency for healthcare.

The #MyIdealPtExp is a social currency based on the 4T’s:

Time – Trust – Transparency – Transition

In today’s format, it is a “social” object that helps to generate a dialogue between patients and physicians. It reminds of what matters most, and that it begins and ends with “time.” We can leverage the “social” object to set expectations and acknowledge physicians and care teams that take the time to connect and help to deliver a #MyIdealPtExp. (Social object terminology via Hugh MacLeod @hughcartoons)

In the next phase, it will become a digital currency.

A currency that can only be generated when the focus is on the 4T’s. A currency by patients for care teams. A currency to help us all remember….

Scaling change in healthcare occurs one patient at a time.

Please contact me for further information and go check out the

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As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek