Communicate via social media?

Internal communications

Launch a group blog?

This could be a mutually inspiring way to share and develop ideas and collaborate on projects in between monthly meetings.

Posts can be very simple. Tags and categories attached to posts can help make it easy to organize and access content across multiple posts by multiple contributors.

The following cut and pastes provide a quick overview:

In the WordPress nomenclature, both categories and tags are known as taxonomies. Their sole purpose is to sort your content to improve the usability of your site. Meaning when a user comes to your site, they can easily browse through your content by topic rather than browsing chronologically which is how blogs were initially setup.

What’s the difference between Categories and Tags?

“Wayfinding” might work well as a category under which tags like “Colors” and “Signage” and “Maps” would logically fall.


The Comment tool would allow for easy give-and-take among PFAC members.


Busy bloggers

Create a Facebook Group?

I’ve never done this, but launching a Facebook Group might be an easier medium for group interaction between meetings. Privacy options include: Secret, Closed, Open (Public).

Here’s an extended cut and paste from Facebook:

Create a private space

Have things you only want to share with a small group of people? Just create a group, add friends, and start sharing. Once you have your group, you can post updates, poll the group, chat with everyone at once, and more.

Share different things with different people

Groups let you share things with the people who will care about them most. By creating a group for each of the important parts of your life — family, teammates, coworkers — you decide who sees what you share.

Control who sees your group

Secret: Only members see the group, who’s in it, and what members post.
Closed: Anyone can see the group and who’s in it. Only members see posts.
Open (public): Anyone can see the group, who’s in it, and what members post.

Groups for Schools

Join groups for your dorm, classes and other stuff going on around campus.

WordPress blog vs. Facebook Group–Pros and cons


One advantage of a WordPress blog vs a Facebook Group would seem to be the ability to organize and easily access content by Categories and Tags. (I know photos can be tagged on Facebook, but this may be restricted to ‘name tags’ of Facebook friends. I’m not sure about more nuanced tagging options.)


An advantage of a Facebook Group is that it would not require a single administrator and, very likely, PFAC members have relatively more familiarity communicating via Facebook than they have via blogging.

Email is easier

Absolutely! But it can be uninspiring, and many of us are inundated. Also, unless Subject lines are clear and consistent, messages can fall through the cracks.

External communications

This isn’t something non-staff PFAC members need to directly address, but, looking ahead a year or two, when it comes time for us to step down and the organization prepares to recruit new patient/family council members, it might make sense to capture the group’s activities and accomplishments in a way that draws a more diverse group of individuals to the Council, including (for example) relatively more young adults fluent in social media.

Photo/Image Credits:
Boulevard der Stars, 2012, Blogger: Thomas Schmidt, NetAction
Campers Around Campfire: Facebook

WordPress Blog / The Roles We Might Play

If it makes sense to blog–and if we opt to use a platform–then, although only one person can act as Administrator,  everyone else can participate in a number of ways.

WordPress recommends only one Administrator, but everyone can contribute

User Roles

The following cut and paste outlines how WordPress breaks down user roles:

There are four roles that you can assign to people who you want to blog with: Administrator, Editor, Author, and Contributor.

Important: Please be careful of the roles you give users on your blog. If you add a user as an administrator, you are granting full ownership rights to him/her. This means that if he/she deletes the blog and/or its content, there is no wrongdoing. For this reason, we recommend having only one administrator per blog. Also note that all user roles provide access to a site’s stats.


An administrator has full and complete ownership of a blog, and can do absolutely everything. This person has complete power over posts/pages, comments, settings, theme choice, import, users – the whole shebang. Nothing is off-limits, including deleting the entire blog.

Only one administrator per blog is recommended!

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An editor can view, edit, publish, and delete any posts/pages, moderate comments, manage categories, manage tags, manage links and upload files/images.

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An author can edit, publish and delete their posts, as well as upload files/images. Authors do not have access to modify, add, delete, or publish pages.

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A contributor can edit their posts but cannot publish them. When a contributor creates a post, it will need to be submitted to an administrator for review. Once a contributor’s post is approved by an administrator and published, however, it may no longer be edited by the contributor.

A contributor does not have the ability to upload files/images.

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Your followers are the people who have signed up to receive updates each time you publish new content. They do not have any editing privileges. If your blog is public, anyone can follow it, but you may want to send out invitations to specific people who you’d like to share your blog with.

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Adding Users

If you’re a blog Administrator and you’d like to make someone a Contributor, Author, or Editor on your site, please follow the directions on adding contributors.

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Adding Viewers to a Private Blog

If you want others to be able to view your private blog (and add comments, if you’ve enabled them) you’ll need to invite them to be a viewer.

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Everyone can also easily participate by posting Comments on posts. Per WordPress:

Comments are a way for visitors to add feedback to your posts and pages.

If you choose to enable comments for your posts, then a comment form will appear at the bottom of the posts and people can respond to what you have written.

Approved comments are displayed on the individual posts, not on the blog home page. Click on a post title to see comments. You can show the latest comments on the home page by adding therecent comments widget to the sidebar if you wish.

Comment Management

Blog owners are in complete control of the comments left on their blog. Users on the blog who haveEditor or Administrator rights will have the ability to manage comments. You may also turn off comments if you don’t want to use them.

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More Comment Features

There are some noteworthy comment features at such as:

Photo Credit:
 Computer-Using Cat: Evan Lovely, Wikimedia Commons

Wayfinding / Follow the color?

Note: This little post (and the three that follow) represent examples of how PFAC members might share ideas with the group at large .  WordPress gives people tools to communicate via multiple media. (Facebook provides some of the same tools.)

Wayfinding was identified as a priority, especially now that building reconstruction is underway.  This may become one focus of our PFAC activities.

Where am I?

One problem, we learned, is that visitors to the center don’t always easily distinguish North and South parts of the building, so…

  • What if interior walls were painted to convey Warm South and Cool North?
  • What if  the same color messaging was prominent at street entrances and inside the garage (to help people get started on the right path)?
Use warm colors to convey 'South'?

Use warm colors to convey ‘South’?

Use cool colors to convey ‘North’?

The Application of Color In Healthcare Settings

The ideas I suggest just above are primitive, I realized, once I began to do some quick Googling around the keywords of “color and healthcare design.”

At first, quick glance, The Center for Health Design would seem to offer valuable resources on a number of topics, including The Application of Color in Healthcare Settings. To download a copy, click the link just below:

Screen Shot 2013-03-22 at 10.41.48 PM

The above photo and the following tidbit, which appear on page 32 of The Application of Color in Healthcare Settings report, caught my eye:

Elevator pitch

How many words does it take to convey a simple message?

This thought bubble materialized as I reflected back on elevator promotions for recent exhibitions at Boston’s MFA.

Elevator promoting Alex Katz exhibition just downstairs at Boston's MFA

Elevator promoting Alex Katz exhibition (on the lower level) at Boston’s MFA

The same MFA elevator promotes the Mario Testino ‘In Your Face’ show

It doesn’t have to be fine art

Our conversation last night, together with memories of MFA elevators, prompted me to dash off an imperfect sketch. It seems to me we may not have to devote half the elevator to convey the message that people can make calls during the day, because everyone already knows that. But how to convey the message that weekend calls are also okay…

Hmm. Prominantly adding 24/7 might do the trick.

Woman with thermometer (no, she's not smoking!) calls nurse with stethoscope at night

Woman with thermometer (no, she’s not smoking!) calls nurse with stethoscope at night

Elevator images pulled from the Internet

The MFA isn’t the only outfit having fun with elevators.




Capturing patient/clinician partnerships (and more) in oral histories

Viewing a Family Medicine YouTube  headlined in February’s e-newsletter reminded me of StoryCorps, a terrific oral history project I sometimes tune into on my computer and  iPhone.

Here’s the Family Medicine YouTube that prompted the thought:

And here’s one example of a pair of people whose brief oral history was captured by StoryCorps. (Note: Most of the ever-growing number of StoryCorps audios do not feature patients and clinicians, but this one does):

“Every scar in my leg has something to do with you.”

Capturing oral histories

This prompted the question: Might we empower patients and support patient-centered care with some sort of oral history project? Video is of course more involved and more costly than audio, so maybe StoryCorps is a good model.

One way to test this out would be to invite StoryCorps to the medical center to capture willing voices, for example:

  • patient and staff member (clinician, carpenter, caterer…)
  • patient whose first language is not English paired with a Spanish or Russian translator (translator could also mention the ‘language line’ service)
  • patient and patient (maybe a pair with disparate backgrounds but common healthcare concerns, possibly from a support group?)
  • patient and friend or family member

Any number of paired or solo interviews would be potentially enlightening and empowering.


Here’s a cut and paste from the StoryCorps website:

Our on-site recording services are customizable to suit your goals. Hosting StoryCorps–for a special event or as part of a long-term project–is an opportunity to share and preserve the stories of your organization and the community you serve.

The interview materials provide meaningful content to use in creative ways to further your mission and to archive for generations to come.
Click here to see our past partners!


  • Preserve the stories of your community

  • Celebrate major anniversaries and events

  • Engage individuals who matter to your organization in a new way

  • Strengthen bonds with your constituents and stakeholders

  • Create unique content for marketing, fundraising, education, training, and recruitment