“Patient Centered Care” as shown above is in progress on the 5th of December, 2010 at IHI Conference in Orlando, Florida.
I paint about health data. I paint about patient stories and better healthcare practices. I paint about these concepts on public walls by city streets or on the backs of business jackets of healthcare advocates as they attend medical conferences. And sometimes I paint on canvases in the middle of a conference. When I paint onsite, I listen carefully to that which is said and incorporate the spoken meme as well as the twitter feed into the painting.
This painting is “Patient Centered Care” and I painted this at IHI (Institute for Healthcare Improvement) during the Patient Activist Summit and during two mini sessions on Health IT, Meaningful Use and Patient Data. If you look closely at this painting you see the background is the deep purple outline of the IHI logo. As the patient summit began the power point display was one slide. That slide was the IHI Logo. It loomed large above us as each activist introduced himself or herself. There were 50 or so activists and they were supposed to introduce themselves with a Twitter intro, keep it short only 140 characters. Not many were on Twitter so perhaps they misunderstood as they spoke too long during introductions. Perhaps they understood perfectly well, but after being in situations where no one listened while they or their loved ones where medically harmed, they were desperate for the chance to talk. So the “I” in the painting began to radiate circular waves of communication like a radio tower set to transmit. So we spoke, some tweeted and I painted.
I stepped back and listened to the patients and clinicians in the room who were willing to grasp hands and support the changing world of healthcare. So within the painting stand two beings. One is male and one is female and they are golden and seem almost holy and they clasp arms to support the world above them. On the right side of the golden female figure, a doctor stands. He is serene. His hand is placed under the golden women’s arm supporting her and joining in her effort. To the left, a young boy supports the arm of the golden male figure. In his other hand he holds an I-pad as this is the way the child communicates within his world. Both the boy and the doctor are people of color. Their inclusion is viewed as instrumental in creating balance within healthcare. Though they are on opposites sides of the canvas, they are the same person at different stages in one life.
To the far left, a suffering cancer patient leans on the shoulder of the golden male figure. Her gown back is gaping, but she is far beyond caring about this embarrassment, as she is deep within the final stages of her disease. She is leaning on the system for support and has no more energy to give. In front of her stands a child. This girl holds a children’s book about Phineas Gage. Do you know about Phineas Gage? He was a man who lived in the nineteenth century and had a metal rod driven through his brain. His story- the patient story- greatly affected the thinking of the times in regards to personality and the lobes of the brain. The child knows this story, she has read it in a children’s book. She knows about the power of stories.
The world in the center of the painting is the dot of the “I.” It is forms a yin and yang symbol within IHI where we are struggling to find balance. On the left side of the world North America is represented because that is where IHI began. An eye looks upon you from the continent. It is looking at you, demanding you use vision in creating better care. To the right side is a clock. The numerals are in Latin and the choice to depict time in ancient increments represents the current lack of clear communication and a reliance on old antiquated systems within many medical institutions. Both the hour hand and minute hand point to three ‘o’clock as we try to support the “triple-aim.” The clock itself represents an oft-heard clarion call of the activist: the time for change is now.
In the center of the world clock resides a call bell. Bart Windrum brought this bell so each activist could ring it after recounting his or her tale. It reminds us of to the old call bells patients used before modern technology introduced the silent, efficient and sometimes ignored call button. This bell is red and it represents warning. It is also a Liberty Bell and emblazoned upon it are the words “Information Liberty.” Above and connected to the bell are the scales of justice and they too point to the desperate need for balance between the provider and the patient.
Below the world is a table set to explain why clinicians need to consider EMR adoption. This element is based on the talk given by Ann Lefebvre, called “Integrating Health IT into a Statewide QI Program.” She mentioned that they invite their clinicians to discuss systems and EMR’s four times a year. So the table is set with plates saying things like EMR and HIT. The two candelabras at the table light the surroundings but they also contain the symbols of money and percentages. Often these kinds of talks can be more about incentives and dry data bytes and less about the actual patient outcomes.
Below the table is the Twitter feed for the conference and that pours into the patient centered medical home. The roof of this house is the IHI triple aim: population health, experience of care and per capita cost. The Cub Scout character connection of know, commit and practice surrounds it. I threw that in as I am a Den Leader and know that change only happens when you promise to do your best and you keep your promise. At the door of the home stands a very small patient. Patient centered care was discussed in an in depth fashion by Laura Adams, J. Robson and Jaquelyn S. Hunt during “Whose care is it anyway…and Can Health IT Help.” The patient is holding up a ruler and trying very hard to be centered, but if you look closely, you see the center of the painting and the home is slightly off kilter. This lack of center exists in the painting because that is the current experience in US health care. But there is hope. Due to the work of the folks from IHI and Patient Activists and Clinicians we have hope of attaining balance, and making this vision of the future a reality.
The finished piece can be viewed here. I hope you get a chance to look at it. This photo was taken right before I addressed the room about our family story and the meaning of the painting. I was not on the agenda that day, but the speakers were so gracious as to ask me to present. I told them about the very personal reason I advocate and I explained the painting.
The entire room of attendee's to the session "Who's Care is it any way...." gathered around the painting. You will see me in the middle, slightly left of center. I suppose that is a good place to be as we strive toward patient centered care.