News Trending Viral Worldwide

A gynecologist asked people what they would change about their visit. Thousands responded.

When picturing a doctor’s office, you might imagine a less than warm atmosphere. Those oh-so-lovely fluorescent lights instantly come to my mind.

Imagine if a doctor told you, “I want to design our visit in a way that makes you feel most comfortable.” Suddenly that annual check-up doesn’t sound so dreadful after all.

Dr. Ryan Stewart, a urogynecologist at the Midwest Center for Pelvic Health, recently asked women to weigh in on the redesign of his office.

Posting the question to Twitter, we wrote: “I have the opportunity to design my office from scratch. I’m asking women. How would you design/optimize a visit to the gynecologist’s office? No detail is too small.”

His tweet ended with “If I’ve ever had a tweet worthy of virality, it’s this one.”

And boy was he right. His tweet nearly instantly received thousands of replies. Turns out, there are a lot of ways to improve a visit to the gyno.


Empathy toward sexual trauma

This includes starting the exam off asking if a patient has any trauma, and not dismissing feelings of discomfort, according to commenters.

Improved privacy

As part of improved privacy, many advocated to not be asked if an intern can observe while the intern is still in the room.

“It’s hard to say no to them,” one person wrote.

Another added “I’m sitting on the table in the gown and [the gyno] brings in this young guy and says ‘you don’t mind him observing this do you?’ I consented but have been pissed off ever since and never went back to her.”

One person mentioned that their current doctor recently swapped the thin, exposing paper gown for spa style robes, adding both privacy and a dash of luxury.

Diverse posters

This suggestion comes aptly timed, as the diagram (above) of a black fetus recently inspired a viral conversation. Many were noting that they had never seen one in medical imagery before.

One person remarked, “I am 53 years old and have never seen myself represented in anything in a doctor’s office, even pamphlets. Change that!”

Mental health screenings

Waiting until the clothes are ON to disclose important info

Bottom line: It’s already a vulnerable time. Let people have a moment to get comfortable.

One person added “I have always had to specifically ask to be able to talk to my doctor clothed first. Even when I hadn’t met that doctor yet. I feel like that should be default, not up to me to ask for. It’s such a power imbalance already, don’t add unnecessary vulnerability.”

Ditching the pink 

To some, it’s mildly annoying. To others, it’s even triggering.

One person tweeted, “I went through a breast cancer scare, & EVERY women’s medical office I went to–pink EVERYWHERE. I was at a really terrified moment in my life, & pink, pink, pink. I 100% can’t stand it anymore.”

Offering pain meds

Potentially painful procedures like IUD insertions or cervical biopsies typically only offer medication upon request. This Twitter user suggested offering them, making it clear that the patient has the option.

More accessibility in the exam and waiting rooms

Tables that lower for those with mobility issues as well as higher waiting room chairs were among the most frequently suggested items.

And lastly … a variety of speculum sizes

The general Twitter consensus: and while you’re at it, warm them up too.

Dr. Stewart’s tweet did receive constructive criticism asking for more inclusion

Dr. Stewart welcomed the insight, sending a follow-up tweet that read:

“Folks have [correctly] pointed out that I [incorrectly] said “women” when what I should have said was “folks who may need gynecologic care.” I named the practice with this in mind @midwestpelvis, but I find that I still have a lot of internalized/implicit bias.”

This viral thread might have started a trend. Soon after another medical practitioner tweeted:

“Love urogynecologist Dr. Stewart asking for input on ideal office design and wanted to ask the oncology community something similar: given that no one wants to come to a cancer doctor…what makes the experience MOST comfortable?”

Though Dr. Stewart describes his philosophy online as “I want you to leave every appointment feeling as though you’ve learned more about yourself,” it’s lovely to see that he is equally invested in learning about his patients as well.