Thursday, July 18, 2013

DohJe: the Walls Around Caregiver City

Everyone wants to know "how it all started".  Below is the letter written to a  fantastic nurse by my friend and DohJe CEO, Amanda Krantz.  It's the reason she started this whole endeavor and a glimpse into what happens when something cannot be brushed aside or ignored any longer.  

But first, a little note.  

I never imagined it would be so difficult to find a specific someone in healthcare.  After in-person visits and many phone calls and emails later, Amanda was finally given the email address for the nurse that she wanted to thank.  Through her experience and the experiences of many of you, we have learned that hospitals are so locked-down and worried about privacy that they aren't letting in the gratitude.  Safety and privacy are very important.  But so is gratitude and its impact on both the givers and receivers of care.  And I think we can all agree that stalking a caregiver on Facebook shouldn't be the way we find and thank them.

This is why we need DohJe.  We need a way to say "thank you" five years later.  We need immediate notification, even if the expression of gratitude was delayed.  We need to close the loop.  We need to stop writing this "little note" and let you read the letter.

Hi Laura,

I met you 5 years ago when you were assigned to me for labor and delivery of my first son at CPMC.  I've been wanting to say thank you for taking such great care of me!  I'm sorry I never was able to deliver my gratitude until now, but I thought you'd like to know how very grateful I am for the great care you gave me.   I stopped by the hospital a few times in person but you weren't working at those times, and I'm not sure if anyone ever passed along my note.

I know you see tons of patients and this description may still not help you remember who I am, and that's OK. I'll share anyway just to give you some context.  I've also attached a recent picture of my son Jude (who you helped deliver) and my second son, Kai who was delivered by VBAC with no drugs at UCSF (no offense against CPMC, but UCSF was more supportive of a VBAC).

With Jude, I was hoping to labor at home as long as possible and then have an unmedicated birth at the hospital.  However, my baby wasn't moving much the last few weeks and then I was admitted to CPMC to try to induce labor.  Before we even got to the pitocin step, you called in the docs for a c-section. I remember clearly looking to you to make sure I had to do that, and you told me, "yes, I called them in."  I never met you before, but I somehow completely trusted you.  Maybe it was because you had done a home birth yourself but I think it was also because you seemed to really care about me and understand my concerns about medical intervention.  When they gave me the option to take a wheel chair to the operating room, you asked me if I wanted to walk.  I had no idea how important something as simple as that was to me, but looking back at it afterwards, it was huge. Thank you for caring and doing the little things that you didn't have to do. It was really appreciated!  I later found out that when I was stuck in the OR recovery room for many hours because there were no rooms available in the postpartum area, you stuck around and made sure they did not take Jude away. I heard you made sure my son stayed with me, and Vitamin K shot or anything else he needed you would do right there. Thanks again.   

With the birth of my second son, 8 months went by before I went up to UCSF to thank that nurse, but I was able to thank her in person. I started asking her about how other people say thank you, and how we could make it easier so after having a baby and you're super tired, you can still find a simple way to say thanks. I started working on DohJe the following week.   I thought you might like to know that you were part of the inspiration for the site.  We just launched, so it's not working very well on mobile yet, and we still have a lot we want to improve. But you can check it out at and let me know what you think.   :)

Thanks again for being such an amazing nurse and person.


Unfortunately, that letter was sent more than two months ago, and Amanda has not yet received a reply from Laura.  Maybe she doesn't often check her messages.  Maybe she felt that she didn't need to respond.  Maybe it was the wrong email address.

So dropping by the hospital to connect or calling to express your gratitude to a specific caregiver rarely works.  And now we know sending a letter via email, even though the address was obtained through management, doesn't guarantee your words and photos will end up in front of the right person.  Caregivers are enclosed by so much fortification!  And how many times can we honestly expect the average grateful person to try?

What’s the solution?  DohJe and a mobile application.

Nearly every nurse, doctor, tech and every other person in industry carries a smartphone.  There's a tiny crack in the wall surrounding Caregiver City, and we're going to use technology to shine in some gratitude.  We’re working on the DohJe mobile app, and if we build it thoughtfully enough, caregivers will see a whole lot more gratitude within their fortress.