White Boarding

It’s not as much fun as a sliding board. From watching people use them I’m sure it’s not as much fun as a snowboard or a waterboard.


But for educational purposes I enjoy using a whiteboard in the office. I got the idea from John Mandrola who apparently stole it from Dr. Vartabedian. After using it for about a year I think I’ve got the hang of it. Understanding that “doctor” comes from the latin for teacher, it makes sense to use as many tools as possible to improve my communication with patients. What I’d love to be capable of doing is create a Doctor Mike Evans’ whiteboard (see video below) but I’m not anywhere that artistic. I’ve studied Sketchnoting and read the book but let’s face it, I’ll never be the artists my daughters are. Nonetheless, the whiteboard becomes a great place to list thoughts that are important while talking with my patients. Sometimes they like to add to the board:

My Patient's drawing

Dog walking done by a patient

My biggest use of the board is to list recommended healthcare sites, common causes of medical conditions and draw absolutely horrific anatomic drawings which at least make the patients laugh. Fortunately I am not paid for my artwork and hopefully Medicare will not be asking patients to judge that anytime soon.[1]


In the meantime, until my patients beg me to stop, I’ll continue to try to improve my illustration techniques and find new ways to communicate meaningfully with my patients. Here’s my discussion of lower extremity edema with causes on the left, a “vein” in the middle of the discussion and how to treat on the right. Maybe in a year or so I can write a before and after post on my improved abilities. We can only hope.



1. http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Quality-Initiatives-Patient-AssessmentInstruments/HospitalQualityInits/HospitalHCAHPS.html

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2 thoughts on “White Boarding

  1. Re: White boarding
    Like the idea of a white board in a doctors office with inspirational thoughts. I have never seen one in either a doctors surgery, eR or ward. It could be quite provocative for some who just can’t help themselves. Or for those who need a little thoughtful nudge. Mind you there is no way I could walk for 30 minutes straight 5 days/week. My multiple arthritic joints and the tendonosis in my tendons would stop me. I have tried but advanced RA and PSA are not kind to people.

    • You are right, not all my patients can do the “magic pill”. But it starts them thinking and often a dialogue ensues. I encourage them to do what they can and at least try some activity. Thanks for all your thoughtful posts! I enjoyed them. 🙂

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