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A Gynecologist Is Going Viral For Asking People What They Would Change About Doctor's Offices, And I Literally Couldn't Agree More

Wider variety of speculum sizes, more diverse imagery, and better gowns are definitely on the list.

Dr. Ryan Stewart, a urogynecologist based in Indiana at the Midwest Center for Pelvic Health, recently sent out a tweet asking people about the things they would prefer when visiting the gynecologist's office.

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? ✅problems ✅frustrations ✅solutions No detail is too small. If I’ve ever had a tweet worthy of virality, it’s this one. 🙏🏼 RT.

Twitter: @stuboo

Because going to the gynecologist is not something many people regard as particularly pleasant, the thread instantly went viral and now has over 3,000 replies.

I’m going to compile the replies to this thread and put them in my employee handbook. I sooo appreciate all of these comments. Keep ‘em coming!

Twitter: @stuboo

We know you don't have the time to read through every single one of them, so we went ahead and rounded up some of the most popular responses. Doctors, take note, please!

Include more diverse imagery in the office.

@stuboo Every single picture, image, mold is of white women in every office, peach-colored skine. I am 53 years old and have never seen myself represented in anything in a doctor's office, even pamphlets. Change that!

Twitter: @stepht93

Remove TVs from the waiting room because it can stress patients out.

@stuboo Please please please no TV in the waiting room. It's stressful and noisy and, at least where I live, people will always turn it to Fox News.

Twitter: @stillSTH

Have your offices include colors other than pink.

@stuboo It's super trivial, but... Not every place that's intended for women to inhabit needs to be pink. There are other colors.

Twitter: @girlgeek_rva

Offer better gowns that don't make patients feel exposed.

@stuboo I hate paper gowns for exams. It makes me feel so exposed. My Gyn recently changed to spa style robes. What a difference! Also -- private connected bathroom to exam room to change, store clothes and use the restroom.

Twitter: @thenotoriusMDB

Create better ways for patients to indicate when they're done changing and ready for their exam.

@stuboo I once went to an OB/GYN office that had a light switch (reachable from exam table)that lit up outside the door to let provider know I was changed. Significantly decreased wait time sitting in gown since no one was guessing if I was ready.

Twitter: @mgbrock

Allow patients to opt out of having their weight taken.

@stuboo Remove the BMI from your practice because it's racist sexist eugenicist garbage. Allow patients to opt out of being weighed. Ask "Have you gained/lost an amount of weight that doesn't make sense given your lifestyle, or otherwise concerns you?" instead.

Twitter: @molliekatie

Another Twitter user even suggested that scales should not be within the view of other patients.

Make the rooms warmer (or at least have a thermostat to adjust the temperature).

@stuboo Make the examining room warm enough that we don't risk hypothermia. (Pet peeve.)

Twitter: @HC_Richardson

Have the exam table facing away from the door.

@stuboo Do not make the end of the exam table face the door and have a curtain! I worked at a clinic where every room was the opposite of what I’m suggesting and it was horrible and embarrassing!!!!!

Twitter: @lunaphoenixAK

Offer more speculum sizes so patients can choose what's most comfortable.

@stuboo A wide variety of speculum sizes, and introduction to the exam room including a play by play of how the visit will go. Most people never get this and the office staff never ask if it’s their first exam and most people wouldn’t disclose fear or stress if they have it.

Twitter: @mvasquez_owner

Other users even suggested warming them up before use, since they can be cold.

Consider offering painkillers to patients without them having to ask when you're performing routine (but sometimes painful) exams or procedures (like inserting an IUD or doing a cervical biopsy).

@stuboo From my non-Twitter-using wife: offer painkillers. Don’t make people ask/have to know to ask. Anyone getting a cervical biopsy should be offered the same suite of painkillers and anxiety drugs I was for my vasectomy.

Twitter: @eschatomaton

Be sure to get a patient's permission for interns to observe beforehand.

@stuboo Please consider: - not asking the patient if an intern can be in the room in the presence of the intern- it's hard to say no in front of them - not changing practitioner between the time of appt. and the actual appt. expecting the patient to be comfortable with someone else 1/2

Twitter: @KCooperGriffin

Any discussions about care should be held away from other patients.

@stuboo No one should ever have to discuss any aspect of their care with anyone (I’m thinking nurse, receptionist) within earshot of other patients. Also, patients should not be able to listen to phone calls or dictation. You wouldn’t believe the things I’ve heard while sitting.

Twitter: @macdoin

Be sure to include mental health screenings at exams.

@stuboo make screening for depression, domestic abuse, human trafficking, anxiety and PPD a normal part of your exam practice. my normal doc screens at every physical for depression, its just normal. Check in on emotional effects of birth control

Twitter: @iamoutofideas12

Acknowledge how past trauma can make exams more difficult.

@stuboo Acknowledgement that sexual trauma histories can make exams psychologically overwhelming for many. I’d feel safer if it wasn’t dismissed as “everyone needs these exams, it’s no big deal.” It is a big deal! Empathy would help in improving our sense of safety & reducing avoidance.

Twitter: @karabear_1

Leave important discussions until after the patients are clothed.

@stuboo Don’t discuss care or diagnoses when people are naked, I remember how much more respected and comfortable I felt when a new gynaecologist introduced himself to me while I was clothed, did the exam, then had me get dressed and meet him in his office to discuss care! Much better!

Twitter: @davieledgerwood

And finally, make sure the office is completely accessible to everyone.

@stuboo Find women who are wheelchair/cane/walker/prosthetic users, and ask them what they need most. Wider hallways, exam tables that actually DO lower, more than one bathroom that is fully handicap friendly BY HANDICAP USERS CHECKLIST- not some random contractor. Furniture where a 1

Twitter: @HTTOrganizers

On top of some great suggestions, the thread also inspired other doctors, like oncologist Dr. Mark Lewis, who joined in and asked people for ways to make his own office experience better for patients.

Love urogynecologist Dr. Stewart @stuboo @midwestpelvis asking for input on ideal office design & want to ask the oncology community something similar: Given that no one wants to come to a cancer doctor or an infusion suite for chemo, what makes the experience MOST comfortable?

Twitter: @marklewismd

Let's keep the conversation going! What are ways you would change your doctor's office to make it more comfortable?