If you’ve ever been to the gynecologist and thought, “There is no way a woman designed this exam room,” have we got a story for you.
A physician went viral on twitter by asking women, trans and non-binary people who seek OB/GYN care how they would design their doctor’s office if given the chance.
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.
If I’ve ever had a tweet worthy of virality, it’s this one. 🙏🏼 RT.
— Ryan Stewart (@stuboo) December 5, 2021
Urogynecologist Dr. Ryan Stewart is starting his own practice, Midwest Pelvis, in Indianapolis in 2022.
His tweet says “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.
If I’ve ever had a tweet worthy of virality, it’s this one. 🙏🏼 RT.”
The responses were spot on.
The Answers Are On Point
One Twitter user said “Do not put a scale in a public/visible place. Also…weights should be subject to consent and only done when relevant like any other procedure.”
And do not put a scale in a public/visible place. Also..weights should be subject to consent and only done when relevant like any other procedure.
— Dr. Erin MacLean MD OB/GYN (ret’d) (@macdoin) December 5, 2021
Thank you! If we have to be weighed, why are we subjected to a scale in the middle of the hallway?
I’ve had nurses roll their eyes when I take off my shoes before stepping on the public hallway scale. To be honest, they’re lucky it’s not in a private room because I’d strip buck naked before being weighed.
Another user suggests allowing patients to stand on the scale in a way so they don’t have to see their weight if they don’t want to.
Set up the scale in a way where the patient doesn’t face the number, only get weight when it’s necessary and have the nurse or aid ask if they want to hear it. Heat the rooms, we’re often waiting bottomless with a half gown and it’s cold. Warm the speculums!
— nintendo ennui (@_parasocial) December 5, 2021
And several others say patients should be able to opt-out of being weighed all together.
There Should Be Diverse Images
If you don’t see any images reflecting yourself, you can feel uncomfortable, maybe even unwelcome, as one Twitter user points out.
100 percent this!! Recently I’ve seen this image circulating on Twitter and I realized I have never seen diagrams depicting women of color before! 😑 pic.twitter.com/x3Q7ja1CxW
— m_bex (she/her) (@meridoughten) December 5, 2021
“Please have images of Black women in the office. I haven’t visited a gynecologist office yet with this type of representation. Also, privacy is key. I shouldn’t fear that the door will swing open exposing me in the middle of my examination.”
A lot of Twitter users complained about the lack of privacy and gave suggestions for improval.
One tweeted that there should be a signal in the exam room that lets the staff know you’re finished changing.
“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.”
Man, what a simple and obvious (at least in retrospect) feature that should be standard in any room where people have to undress. I always feel like I’m racing against the clock to put on my gown or clothes.
— Gabrielle Mejia (@gabbklein) December 5, 2021
Many users said a private area to change in the exam room would be a welcome addition.
As the Twitter user behind the idea put it, “That little pile of clothing with undies that you have to place on a chair is demoralizing.”
Changing room *inside* exam room where you can store your clothes. That little pile of clothing with undies that you have to place on a chair is demoralizing. Maybe even have en-suite changing room/toilet to clean up goo. And maybe a consult area there too.
— Gin (@GinPNP) December 5, 2021
You have to fold them nicely for some odd reason because god forbid you look like a slob while you’re spread eagle on an exam table!
While my gynecologist recently made the change from paper (PAPER!!) gowns with a plastic belt that snaps when you attempt to tie it to cotton gowns, it seems many OB/GYNS are behind on the times.
The responses about room temperatures and cold stirrups were many. I have no complaints in this area because my gynecologist has faux fur stirrup coverings — and they make a difference.
My OBGYN has hilarious warmers over the stirrups, which always make me laugh. There’s another room that says “I Hate” & “This Part”. They also make me feel like the office understands how awkward and uncomfortable these appointments can be, despite their best efforts. pic.twitter.com/UidkvHjrR3
— Dr. Jay Phab, PharmD, BCPS (@PhabPharmaDoc) December 5, 2021
“My OBGYN has hilarious warmers over the stirrups, which always make me laugh. There’s another room that says “I Hate” & “This Part”. They also make me feel like the office understands how awkward and uncomfortable these appointments can be, despite their best efforts,” she tweeted.
How about we get to control the thermostats in our rooms? If we have to be barely clothed and at our most vulnerable, it only seems right that we can bump up the temp to our liking.
Different Waiting Rooms
For patients dealing with infertility, waiting for long periods next to new babies and expecting moms can be “excruciating,” one person wrote.
Yes. This. Three miscarriages. Three very long waits in a room full of pregnant moms and brand new babies…. Excruciating.
— ElisaLynn (@ElisaLynn) December 5, 2021
Another user suggested waiting rooms for patients with children and in their second or third trimester, and another for first trimester, infertility, or non-OB needs.
Angle Of Exam Beds
I’ve never even thought about this one, but several responders wanted docs to pay attention to the angle of examination beds. Which makes sense!
DO NOT put the exam beds such that a person’s crotch will be facing the door. Just in case. Ask me how I know this is necessary.
— Janet Werther (@janetwerther) December 6, 2021
It’s horrifying to think of being in that position for the world to see if a door opens.
Thank you to Dr. Ryan Stewart for asking this important question — hopefully, other gynecologists will put these suggestions to use!
Do you agree with women’s suggestions to Dr. Ryan Stewart? Let us know below!
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