Browse By

Stanford MedX Day 2: Designing for Change

This is second in a three-article series. To read about Stanford MedX Day 1 first, click here.

How do we design better care experiences for both patient and provider? Today at the MedX conference at Stanford, the day started with 2 minutes of silent meditation—in a room of hundreds of people—and a musical remembrance of those in the MedX patient community who had passed away in the last year. It was poignant to realize how urgent it was for them to share their messages at the last MedX. I appreciated the existence of a formalized remembrance ceremony; I wonder what it would be like if physicians regularly did something like this for their team when patients passed.

Ai-jen Poo gives the keynote address, about improving elderly care and dignity.

The keynote was a presentation from Ai-jen Poo, director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and co-director of Caring Across Generations. Her work largely focuses on the long-term care system in the US, and how to change policy and expectations in elderly care. Apart from my own experiences with my grandmother, it has been interesting and sad during clinical rotations to see the unique challenges the elderly face within healthcare. A fall or a hospitalization can turn an independent person who lives at home to a bed-bound resident of a nursing home. Many of my patients were incredibly lonely; while this made it adorable when their face lit up when I entered a room, it also made me realize how hard it was to find someone to rely on for all of their increasing medical needs. In many cases, the grandparent became closer with a hired caregiver than with his or her children. Ai-jen Poo emphasized in her talk the fact that these caregivers often struggle on the salary they earn for elderly care.

We were asked to draw what we eat; as if we were drawing this to give to our doctor at the next visit. My doctor would agree: the second cup of coffee never really makes you feel great.

Later in the day, I attended two design workshops: one on using imagery to augment patient visits, and another on designing compassionate and empathetic interactions in “post-AI medicine.” I love the idea—posed by User Experience designer and autoimmune patient Katie McCurdy as well as pediatrician and Stanford clinical informatics fellow Chethan Sarabu—that the EHR and the patient visit can and should incorporate drawings and visuals. For example, Katie draws out a timeline of her symptoms and maps out on a blank body outline her areas of discomfort, so that her doctor can more easily understand the course of her illness as she is experiencing it.

Physician-designer Bon Ku speaks about designing an environment to combat health inequity.

These workshops added to the interesting ideas posed by ER physician and leader of Jefferson’s design training curriculum for medical students Bon Ku (who we previously profiled here). Ku spoke about the need for designing better environments for health, highlighting how zip code often determined healthcare outcomes.


How would you like to see design incorporated in the medical environment? Tweet us at @doctorscreate with your ideas!

Catching “golden hour” atop Stanford’s Dish trail.