When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

An Argentina Hospital's Safe Space For Patient Feedback

An experimental listening booth in Buenos Aires provides people a comfortable space to give honest feedback — alone and in anonymity.

The 'Módulo de Escucha' or 'Listening Module'
The "Módulo de Escucha" or "Listening Module"
Miguel Jurado

BUENOS AIRES — The late Francisco Maglio, the long-time head of Intensive Care at Hospital Muñiz in Buenos Aires, had a saying. "For years we doctors have been at the bedside of our patients. But what we need to do now is be on their side."

It was a view that "Pancho," as he was affectionately known, put into practice while working at the hospital, and that he later developed in books and lectures as head of the Argentine Society of Anthropological Medicine. It's also a vision that, three years after his death, inspired an experimental project spearheaded by his daughter Tuti, who heads the hospital's Institutional Relations department.

The centerpiece of the project is little cabin — a Listening Module, they call it — set up in the Hospital Muñiz gardens. And its purpose is to provide patients a safe place to give feedback about the treatment they receive and their interactions with the facility's doctors and staff.

The module is consciously colorful and could be mistaken for an art installation. But it's also a bit like a confessional, and its purpose is to help patients say what they really feel, without holding back. It is a small, orange cart on wheels, and inside, patients can leave a recording or a written note — alone and anonymously.

The module was designed and is managed by the architects Gustavo Diéguez and Lucas Gilardi (A77 studio), and designers Roger Colom and Leonello Zambón of CoZa, an ongoing creative project.

Francisco Maglio​ believed this approach to patient feedback should replace the traditional interview format. Questioning patients in a hospital could be intimidating, or even become "inquisitorial," he realized. Like judges and policemen, "We doctors ask questions," the late doctor once said. "And all three of us have "uniforms' and can "confine" individuals either as inmates or patients."

As a proponent of holistic treatment, Maglio was well aware that if a medical consultation gets off to a bad start, it can predictably provoke the patient's "resistance."

The designers of the listening cart wanted it to be clearly visible, thus its playful form and color. The design seeks to make the patient comfortable inside, and especially feel sheltered. Particular care was taken to ensure the module could be used by patients with immunodeficiency. The cabin contains a desk and chair for writing by hand, and a recorder in a small console with a single button to start and end voice message recordings.

The outer shell is treated to resist the weather and the cart is mobile like a trailer or vehicle. It can be moved to different parts of the Muñiz gardens, or taken to another hospital.

The inside of the module — Photo: Investigaciones del Futuro/Facebook

After a couple of months, the Listening Module gathered in a good many, worthwhile opinions on patient experiences, sensations and wishes on various levels. These then became part of an exhibition at the hospital's 7th Congress, which took lace last November at the Metropolitan Design Center.

It was unusual venue for a medical congress. More unusual still was that several of the event's presentations mentioned the data and mechanics of the booth, and praised it as an opportunity to rethink doctor-patient relations.

Tuti Maglio also manages the hospital museum and its patrimony, contributing furthermore to the integral healthcare of patients through reading and art workshops. Her father believed illness goes beyond a patient's affected organs, and that healthcare, therefore, should also take a much wider view.

The younger Maglio and the A77 studio have been collaborating for some time now, and the architects have undertaken other projects like lecturing on techniques for video displays inside the museum, or creating equipment using discarded bed parts. And last year, Tuti Maglio created an Art Space in the waiting room of the hospital pharmacy, where patients spend time before receiving medicines.

The cabin was part of this same quest for holistic attention to patients. It was open permanently throughout December, to mark the Art Space's 10th anniversary. In that respect is really is an art installation. But it's a medical instrument of sorts. And it's certainly a curiosity.

Regardless, the purpose of the listening booth above all is to help realize the late Magio's vision of bringing doctors and patients closer together, of helping doctors go from the bedside, as he used to say, to really being on their patients' side.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


A Refuge From China's Rat Race: The Young People Flocking To Buddhist Monasteries

Unemployment, stress in the workplace, economic difficulties: more and more young Chinese graduates are flocking to monasteries to find "another school of life."

Photograph of a girl praying at a temple during Chinese Lunar New Year. She is burning incense.

Feb 20, 2015 - Huaibei, China - Chinese worshippers pray at a temple during the Lunar New Yeat

Frédéric Schaeffer

JIAXING — It's already dawn at Xianghai Temple when Lin, 26, goes to the Hall of 10,000 Buddhas for the 5:30 a.m. prayer.

Still half-asleep, the young woman joins the monks in chanting mantras and reciting sacred texts for an hour. Kneeling, she bows three times to Vairocana, also known as the Great Sun Buddha, who dominates the 42-meter-high hall representing the cosmos.

Before grabbing a vegetarian breakfast in the adjacent refectory, monks and devotees chant around the hall to the sound of drums and gongs.

"I resigned last October from the e-commerce company where I had been working for the past two years in Nanjing, and joined the temple in January, where I am now a volunteer in residence," explains the young woman, soberly dressed in black pants and a cream linen jacket.

Located in the city of Jiaxing, over a hundred kilometers from Shanghai, in eastern China, the Xianghai temple is home to some 20 permanent volunteers.

Unlike Lin, most of them only stay for a couple days or a few weeks. But for Lin, who spends most of her free time studying Buddhist texts in the temple library, the change in her life has been radical. "I used to do the same job every day, sometimes until very late at night, writing all kinds of reports for my boss. I was exhausted physically and mentally. I felt my life had no meaning," she says.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest