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.
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.
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.
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 Qpid.me 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.