Category Archives: #patientegagement



We all know how the saying goes, “When you assume, it makes an ass of you and me.”

I relearned this lesson myself this week.

When you work in healthcare you are accustomed to processes. Whether it is delivering care to patients, delivering information to ordering and referring physicians, ordering exams and tests, there are processes to ensure patients are safe and cared for appropriately.

Working in the medical technology space there are numerous processes as well. It can be marketing to physicians and patients, selling a product or service, having a meeting with physicians or healthcare executives, servicing equipment or filing for FDA approvals, our world is filled with processes.

This week I ran into a process that I expected everyone to already know and understand. I expected that since I was “new” it was less about me knowing the process and more about communicating. Trying to give visibility to potential end users so that they are not caught off guard. Communicating as a professional courtesy, not as a requirement of the process.

This is where my misstep happened.

I assumed that everyone else understood the process. Instead of causing awareness and empowering the end users with information, it caused anxiety, panic, and duress.

It reminded me in the danger of making assumptions.

That an assumption can instantaneously take a positive action and change it into a negative action. It can derail forward motion and cause a sudden halt in progress.

It reminded me in the importance of going back to the basics. Begin by explaining the process. Set expectations. Remind everyone that when you trust in the process things go according to plan.

Whether it is direct patient care, medical technology, or in our daily lives, processes need to be understood at the N of 1.

As always feel free to email me at or follow me on Twitter and Instagram as CancerGeek



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