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Monday, October 14, 2013



This is the painting “Launch.”  It is my third painting onsite at Health 2.0's annual conference. This year Health 2.0 was held Sept 29-October 1st, 2013 and I love painting at Health 2.0.  There is a kind of frenetic energy that fills the air.  It is a unique passion fueled by the panicked reality of a start up and copious amounts of caffeine.

This painting is split between two canvases and represents division.  Division of conferences, as this week of focusing on health was divided between Stanford’s Medicine X and Health 2.0.  Matthew Holt runs Health 2.0 with his partner Indu Subaiya and Larry Chu runs Medicine X.  I am a friend of these two leaders and both are members of The Walking Gallery.  I happily attended each event, gladly hugging each host in a joyful greeting. I guess they must be one degree of separation from a hug.

But there is more division than overlapping conferences.  I almost named this painting “Intestinal Sky.”  Look at those looping guts of storm clouds rolling in.  Yep, a $#!* storm is coming.  We are in a time of great change.  Meaningful Use is marching through its Measures and ACA is being implemented.  Yet, as I sit down with my friend Kolya, I plot and plan a future where he can work to the full extent of his amazing mind and frail body.  In times like these, the fantasy of care for all seems so very far away.

A divided House

The divide goes deeper, as I paint the Government enters shutdown.  Then great minds are taken from us as Farzad Mostashari, Lygeia Ricciardi and Claudia Williams must leave the venue and abandon their mission.  Farzad’s last speech as National Coordinator is stolen from him by machinations of a divided house.  Deven McGraw offers to lay bare their testimony before those gathered and the ONC staff slowly walks away.

Goodbye ONC

I hear about Killer King Hospital from Sajid Ahmen CIO of Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital.  I hear him speak of a hospital that showed so little care for its patients that a patient died in the ED and the janitor cleaned up around their body. I began to paint a hospital that was antithesis of its mission.

A divided Hospital

Sajid explained that the facility is to re-open in 2014 with a new vitality and mission.   Yet, I paint it as it was but now adorned with a construction tape “Under Construction for 20 years.”  I write this because I hear that phrase at venue after venue, “It takes 15-20 years to create change in Healthcare.” 

I scream no!  I say cut through the tape of obstruction and demand change before others die.

So here at Health 2.0 we storm the barricades.

We mount our smart phones and ram them straight through the digital divide.   We can follow the rallying cry of Jamie Heywood’s “Patients Like ME is still here!” Or we can the share the brave stance of Alex Drane as she tells us to talk about death and Engage with Grace.  We can listen when Susannah Fox tells us to never forget paper and pencil are also data capture tools. We can cry when Susannah bravely reminds us: caregivers are the ones who wipe.


In this crowd there may be those who could care less about a dental app that can create better pricing through price transparency.  But I care, as I know that there are people who die from a simple tooth abscess for the want of affordable dentistry and perhaps brighter can change that. 

The division stops here.


This is the third appearance of Ramin Bastani from the Unmentionable’s Panel in a Health 2.0 painting. He has re-launched as Hula.  Here Ramin opens his zipper app with the woman who once slapped him when he inquired about her STD status.   Ramin, like Jamie, is still here.  He is still hopeful.  He still plans to change the world. He still has the charisma and energy that he had three years ago.

You know what else he has? He has three years of research on data access and a deep understanding of privacy legislation in 50 states.  Add to that a steely determination under that charming smile.

Ramin is dangerous.
Alex is dangerous.
I am dangerous.

We will tell you the truth and we will do it with technology.

You want to know the best way to deal with a divide? A bridge is really helpful, but at Health 2.0 we are shifting the earth itself beneath the feet of the leaders in healthcare.  

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Reporting out from #CHC13

The opening day of the Cerner conference was a wonderful day!

I was honored to meet with Ross Martin, MD from AMIA and member of The Walking Gallery for a quick breakfast.  He told me about the speech that he delivered on Saturday.  I was happy to hear about it as I noticed the twitter stream blew up with positive feedback.  Ross wove technology together with his family patient story in an inspiring presentation that they will talk about at Cerner for years to come.

At lunchtime I met with the wonderful Matt Dunn who often tweets from the Cerner handle.  We had a wide-ranging conversation that covered children’s literature, professional organizations and the future of health informatics. 

As the day progressed, I saw more and more tweets using the conference hashtag: #CHC13.  At 4:15 I met Brian Carter from Cerner and a fellow member of the Walking Gallery.  We headed over to the convention center to sit among the hundreds gathered to hear four visionary keynotes.

Daphne Bascom introduced the night’s speakers and set the inspiring tone of the session as she used the conference motto: “It starts with me.” She reminded us anyone could be a change agent.  Our first speaker was Sajjad Yacoob, MD Chief Medical Information officer of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  Sajjid mentioned how it was very important to think about system design goals long before you ever involve a vender. He also emphasized focusing on the baby in the bed rather than the tech in the cloud.

Next up was Brian Yeaman, MD Chief Medical Informatics Officer from Norman Regional Health System in Oklahoma.  I was pretty excited to hear him speak as I grew up in Oklahoma and most my family still resides in the state.  He reported out the success of the state Health Information Exchange using the new moniker “Global Medical Record.”  I think that is rather a catchy title. He also spoke to us about the tornadoes that caused such havoc this past year.  He explained how their hospital’s electronic health records coupled with the ease of data exchange allowed for providers to better care for patients in the aftermath.

Next up was Jonathan Bickel, MD Director of Clinical Research Informatics, Boston Children’s Hospital.  Dr. Bickel explained the power of algorithms to predict the paths of hurricanes and discover patients suffering from domestic abuse.  He also pointed out the data set available for EMR use was better than clinical trial data as the data pool was far more diverse.

The last speaker was the amazing Rebecca Onie, co-founder and CEO of Health Leads.  I had the honor of seeing Rebecca present at TedMed in 2012.  She is a big proponent of addressing root causes that make patients suffer.  If a patient needs food to address a state of malnutrition then food should be able to be prescribed.  If a patient is returning to the ED due to asthma attacks brought on by a cockroach infestation in the home, the health system should be able to help remove the pests that are causing the root problem.  I love Rebecca.  She is my kind of disruptor.

That was the first day of the Cerner Conference and I was so glad to be there.