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Wednesday, August 14, 2013


If you visit the corporate offices of Merge in Chicago you will see a well designed space with a touch of candy.  You will see modern tech next to vintage video games.  As wandered around their offices I made the connection, “Oh, I have been in your booth at trade shows!!! You have the candy and the games!  You are the ones that just offer a space to eat and play rather than the hard sell.”

I wondered aloud if they understood the feeling they were evoking in attendees.  Patient or provider, we were once all children.  We once had very little freedom and very little money.  When we infrequently had the freedom and opportunity to spend what little we had our choice was usually between video games or candy. 

So within Merge, a company that specializes in the exchange of digital medical images, we are reminded of the freedom and choice of youth and to choose wisely.

I feel like I attended the Merge conference twice because of the novel way the event was created. 

I flew to Chicago and on August 5th presented a keynote speech in front of the Merge internal staff.  My speech was filmed and edited to include the slides. Then the speech was presented during #Mergelive via live stream on August 13th.

Now if you follow my work, you know I paint the conferences I attend.  This was the first time I live-painted a live-stream.  I painted throughout the morning while listening to the other speakers. 

I heard about the Merge Honeycomb Image Sharing and pondered the deep symbolism within that image.  Merge works with radiology departments to quickly and securely transmit images.  This is a big deal for patients.  All too often over-testing can occur when images are not quickly made available within the care environment.  Patients are exposed to additional radiation through unnecessary tests without timely access to such data. 

If we are watching for the first signs of radiation harm, we need look no farther then the bees. 

So within the painting #MergeLive I painted honeybees upon the honeycomb.  I placed a patient in the center.  Her back is to the viewer as she ponders her few coins and looks upon candy machines.  These machines rest upon the spiral of a DNA double helix. 

To our patient’s right a series of video games are displayed with names like Cerner, Surescripts and Epic.  Here is the background service provider the patient does not see; but these venders are a large part of making image access a reality.

After my speech was streamed, I took part in a 40 minute QandA in the internal chat network.  I also tried to tweet as well.  There were very few people tweeting and that made me somewhat sad.   The reason given was many of their facilities blocked social media sites.  So I tweeted:

This caused a rousing debate on privacy and security vs. sharing in the internal chat.  I think a lot of the IT folks did not know what to think of me and my e-patient brethren.  How could we assign such low value to keeping our data private?

I wish all of my twitter friends could see the comments back and forth upon that topic, but it was a private chat.

I enjoyed #MergeLive, but next year I hope they jettison the internal chat and embrace the hashtag. 

Let’s open up, let’s share and let’s do that publically.

1 comment:

  1. Cool post. I really like the idea of painting all the conferences you have been to. It makes it more memorable and really captures how things went.