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Page 685 – Stanford Medicine X

Co-creating Visual Conversations: Using imagery to augment patient visits

Katie McCurdy McCurdy
Chethan Sarabu chethan.sarabu@gmail.com


Think about the last time you went to see your doctor. How did you describe what was going on? Did you plan what you were going to say or bring notes? Did your doctor ask a lot of questions? Did you get the feeling they really got what you were saying?

Verbal communication can be tough. It's not natural for everyone, but it's the way we 'do things' in patient visits. Compounding this problem, many patients have complex symptoms that are hard to describe or are not feeling well enough to talk about what's happening; young children can't always communicate what they're feeling; power dynamics can prevent patients and caregivers from speaking up; and doctors often don't have enough time to really understand a patient's story.

What can we do? Start with pictures. Imagery from drawings, photos, and diagrams can be powerful tools to convey a richer level of information in more a succinct fashion. For example, instead of verbally trying to recollect a typical diet, a patient can instead share photographs of their previous few days of meals.

In this hands-on workshop, Katie and Chethan will lead you through a number of visual communication exercises. You'll come away from this session with:
- Experience creating multiple types of visuals to communicate better in a patient visit
- An understanding of why and how this type of visual communication is so impactful
- Ideas for how you can incorporate these methods into your practice, institution, product, or your own provider visits
- Lessons learned from our own experiences

Katie is a User Experience Designer and an autoimmune patient with multiple conditions and a constellation of ever-changing symptoms. Chethan is a Pediatrician who sees patients who can't always express themselves well with words. Both have experimented with bringing imagery into patient visits and both have experienced huge benefits.
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