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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lygeia’s Jacket: Rosetta Stone

"Rosetta Stone"

This is the first jacket to be completed for the Walking Gallery on June 7th in Washington DC at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health.  It is called “Rosetta Stone. “ This jacket is about reclaiming things lost so very long ago and translating them for a new generation.
Lygiea multi-tasking by 73 Cents!
This is a story about a regular gal named Lygeia Ricciardi who is now Senior Policy Advisor for Consumer e-Health at US Department of Health & Human Services.  When I met Lygeia she was a consultant at Clinovations.  I would go to many meetings about Health IT and I would see her.   I would wave and smile.  Occasionally she would chirp up with a very astute comment, but mostly Lygeia seemed quiet.  Or perhaps in contrast, I was rather loud.   Maybe circumspect would be the best descriptor for her behavior.
IFHC Patient Round Table
When I heard that she was hired for the newly created job of Consumer e-Health Advisor at the HHS, I was happy for her.  But then I heard her speak at the Institute for Federal Health Care, IFHC roundtable, The Healthcare IT Puzzle: Something is missing... “Oh yes, the patient!” on March 4th, 2011.  I was ecstatic.  Lygeia had stopped being quiet.  She had become a mamma lion.  Before a crowd of health care professionals she recounted in great detail her birth experience having her second daughter.  She explained the many steps she had to take to ensure that her delivery was as natural as was possible.  It was an amazing story and it opened the floodgates in that room.  Other members of the panel began sharing intimate details of their patient experiences as well.  Due to Lygeia’s willingness to be open and honest, retelling many personal details in her account, she gave the entire room permission to step out of their roles in government and medicine and to simply identify with the patient inside of them all.  It was a wonderfully centering experience.     
Lygeia's daughter beats the drum
Not long after the IFHC meeting, I attended the screening of the film “Who Does She think She Is?” at the Center for Green Urbanism.  While watching the documentary I learned about the amazing history of women drummers.  For thousands of years women used frame drums. The beat of the drum mimicked the heart of a Mother to the child in the womb.   The beat of the drum called out warning to the tribe.   The practice of drumming was tied completely into the experience of divinity and defined the role of women.  Fast fore ward a few centuries and the mythos of female drummers was completely lost in the sands of time.

Sort of like the Rosetta Stone.

Now if you ask the Google search engine what Rosetta Stone means, the first answer will be the world’s  #1 language learning software.  If you ask a weary airline business traveler, they will probably point you to the closest Rosetta Stone kiosk in the terminal.  An endless electronic sales pitch on the wonderful learning potential of Rosetta Stone will fill the space within five feet.  A bored sales clerk will often look up from her smart phone to see if you are interested or just passing by.   That is the meaning of Rosetta Stone in our world today.
Healthcare Hieroglyphics in Rosetta Stone
But this painting harkens back to its older meaning.  In 1799 this stone was found with text written in Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, Egyptian demotic script, and in Ancient Greek.  The stele was studied for 20 years and finally fully translated in 1822.  With this translation, other ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs could finally be translated.

So, why I am I using this ancient history to explain a jacket painting?  Well, simply put Lygiea is our woman drummer and our Rosetta Stone.

How many Healthcare hieroglyphs do you think the average patient can recognize and understand?  We need some like Lygeia to explain what is going on in healthcare.  We need her to beat the drum in warning if the patient view is not being represented.  And we need her to do all of this from that wonderful patient center of a mother with babe at breast.
Lygeia with her daughters in "Rosetta Stone"
Lygeia, thank you, you say it all and speak so well.  I can think of no better drummer for the cause.  I can think of no greater translator between the world of patients and the world of Health Information Technology. 


  1. Regina, you never cease to amaze me. This is fantastic and I know Lygeia can gain an extra boost of energy and confidence in her crusade because of this. Excellent.

  2. Regina--

    Thank you. I am honored to be in your painting and in your post, though all this praise makes me fell rather, well, quiet. ;-)

    I love your idea of the Walking Gallery. We are nit just bringing the patient--some outside entity--into our drive to improve healthcare. We have met the patient, and the patient is us.

    We each have a story to tell related to health and healthcare. Maybe it's about ourselves, a spouse, a child, parent, or friend. There are stories of loss, suffering, and triumph. We often rely on the health system at the most significant moments in our lives.

    The Walking Gallery will let us "see through" the everyday exteriors we present to the stories within, complete with the scars and perhaps wisdom they have given us. Our next task is to infuse that human side into everything we do to change healthcare for the better. Thank you for making the invisible visible!

    - Lygeia

  3. Sorry for typos--posting from a smartphone with it's own opinions on word choice & spelling...