Helping Veterans Survive Colorectal Cancer

The two segments intended to attract people to the kiosk.


Health Assessment Kiosk Pilot


U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


Content strategist, producer


More than 50,000 men and women die of colon and rectal cancer every year. Colorectal cancer can be effectively treated when detected early, but is frequently fatal if left undetected. Two VA doctors received funding for a pilot program to provide a self-service health assessment to veterans as they waited for appointments at VA health centers.

A self-service kiosk would provide a touchscreen experience and allow a patient to print out the results of their assessment. The assessment was relatively straightforward, but the project could only be successful if veterans decided to participate. The experience needed to allow people to consider an extremely private subject in a largely public environment.


We worked with the kiosk manufacturer to create a seated workstation that included a touchscreen at eye-level and a separate monitor well above that for displaying a promotional video during the health center’s regular hours.

The promotional video would play on a loop and it had to be silent to avoid adding to the noise level of the patient waiting area. I created content heavy on enticement and light on explanation. The broadcast content focused on getting the veteran to approach the kiosk, while the content of the lower, more intimate screen took on the task of actually getting patients to participate.

I interviewed the doctors to better understand their intention and their understanding of the patients’ needs and potential concerns. The doctors felt a great majority of the participating veterans would be male and of retirement age.

“We want to scare the hell of them, really,” one of the doctors explained.

I created two distinct, but related segments for the looping video. The first segment combined humor and a blunt approach to the fatal aspect of colorectal cancer. It was followed by a more dramatic segment that provided hope and a greater consideration of caregivers. The two segments worked together, but represented two different approaches in hopes of attracting the widest spectrum of veterans.