How a $5 Tim Hortons gift card changed my life

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters    November 11, 2018

I settled in at the impressive boardroom table of a chic downtown ad agency, where I’d been invited to review a new patient website that this agency had created for its client, our provincial Ministry of Health.

This agency wanted to know if an average patient like me seeking online health information would be able to easily navigate this website while looking for answers to some common questions. My volunteer assignment that morning was to noodle around the site in response to a dozen or so search prompts that the young agency hipsters seated around me would provide. When I hit the “Search Health Topics” tab, it revealed a pull-down menu with many diagnoses listed. But I noticed immediately that “heart disease” was oddly missing from the health topics pull-down. I did, for example, see that the diagnosis of “hemorrhoids” was up there. What kind of health website for patients forgets to list our #1 killer? Continue reading “How a $5 Tim Hortons gift card changed my life”

My open letter to “Patients Included” conferences

different red chair

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters

Dear medical conference organizers,

Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in your conference later this year. It is a real honour to be asked to help represent the patient voice at your prestigious event. I know that inviting patients alongside your impressive international roster of well-respected physicians is new to you. So congratulations on your interest in the  increasingly important “Patients Included” movement sweeping through medical conferences. By the way, here are the five qualifications your event requires in order to meet those Patients Included criteria.

But as I once wrote to patient blogger (and conference speaker) Carly Medosch:

“I can no longer afford to be ‘honoured’ by any more medical conference invitations.”

Allow me to explain:
Continue reading “My open letter to “Patients Included” conferences”

Patient bloggers at healthcare conferences: ‘real’ journalists?

Like some of my most deliciously niggling inspirations these days, this one started on Twitter. Patient advocate, speaker and a Stanford University Medicine X ePatient Scholar Britt Johnson (who blogs at The Hurt Blogger) tweeted this:
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To which patient advocate, speaker (and also a Stanford University Medicine X ePatient Scholar Carly Medosch who blogs at Chronic Carly) responded:
 
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It was Carly’s observation that caused one of my eyebrows to flick skyward, unbidden.

Continue reading “Patient bloggers at healthcare conferences: ‘real’ journalists?”