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Image / Self / Health & Wellness

A gynaecologist asked women to redesign his office and the responses are amazing


By Sarah Finnan
08th Dec 2021

Bofu Shaw via Unsplash

A gynaecologist asked women to redesign his office and the responses are amazing

Going to the gynaecologist’s office is rarely an enjoyable experience, but one doctor is hoping to make it a little more so and asked patients for their feedback in designing his new office.

A gynaecologist over in Indianapolis has gotten the internet talking after a post he shared on Twitter asking women (and those who may need gynaecologic care) to design his new office went viral. Taking to social media to find out what patients would change about their local doctor’s office set up if given the chance, he urged people to share any problems, frustrations or solutions they could think of. 

“I have the opportunity to design my office from scratch,” he tweeted. “I’m asking women. How would you design/optimise a visit to the gynaecologist’s office?” No detail is too small,” he later added. “If I’ve ever had a tweet worthy of virality, it’s this one.”

Jumping at the chance to have their voice heard and finally put an end to some of their biggest pet peeves, people replied in their hundreds and their answers are (unsurprisingly) absolutely spot on. First things first, stop making everything pink. It’s ridiculous and gendered and wholly unnecessary. 

Secondly, does it have to be so cold? A space heater or heated tables would be a nice addition, as one Twitter user pointed out. And please, for the love of God, please warm the speculum before insertion. Other suggestions ranged from tables with adjustable height features, more inclusive medical illustrations (eg. the below image by Chidiebere Ibe which depicts a black baby inside the womb), a diverse range of gown sizes, and proper pain medication (though, you’d expect this to be a given). 

Many also noted that so much of what patients dislike about going to the gynaecologist is that feeling of vulnerability – which begins the moment they step in the door. Private check-in areas and comfy waiting room seats would help. Inside the office, there should be a curtain to get undressed behind. Stepping on the scales can be very triggering for some people, so enquiring whether they would like to know their weight is best practice (unless it’s medically necessary to discuss it with them, of course). 

Then there are sexual assault survivors to take into consideration. Making patients feel as comfortable as possible is key. 

Acknowledging that his initial wording was off, Stewart agreed that comprehensive training would be crucial in ensuring that BIPOC, queer, disabled and other marginalised patients felt welcome at his practice. “Folks have [correctly] pointed out that I [incorrectly] said ‘women’ when what I should have said was ‘folks who may need gynaecologic care’. I named the practice with this in mind (Midwest Pelvis) but find that I still have a lot of internalised/implicit bias,” he admitted. 

“I’m a work in progress. I appreciate your advocacy and the reminders. Everyone is welcome and I want them to feel welcomed.”

The thread – though a huge step in the right direction – is indicative of a wider problem. “So much of our healthcare system and spaces have NEVER considered the patients,” another Tweeter commented. And it’s true. A trip to the gynaecologist’s office could be so much more pleasant, if these simple changes were implemented.