Always Just Testing : From PHRs to Participation

I started off a presentation-in-the-works to students in the University of Washington Executive MHA program, led by David Masuda, MD (who, sadly, doesn’t have a blog, just a Twitterfeed, it’s a journey…), with the words, “This is a beta test,” and I’m glad I did.

The beta test part is true, since I was asked by Carolyn Clancy, MD, from Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to reprise and elaborate on a talk I gave at the American Board of Internal Medicine Forum in July for a seminar at AHRQ later this month. That was a 10 minute presentation, the one coming up is a little more full. The way I like to do these when the presentation is in evolution is practice to myself, of course, but also to test with a smart audience to read the feelings/emotions that are created (which is what I think a presentation is for – read more about this here) and see what ideas resonate well and which ones don’t. I usually tell the test audience that I’m testing, and it really helps, because it engages the discussion beyond the content, to how to make the content help other people after this group. Synergy.

Luckily, Dave and his co-students gave me the opportunity to do this.

Before it was my turn, I got to see Rick Rubin, President of Washington’s OneHealthPort in action, talking about community collaboration in the health information technology space. In my travels, I have seen that OneHealthPort is really a gem in the area of health information technology (when people find out about it). It’s company that supports collaboration among potential competitors who jointly have a business need for this collaboration. Whenever I mention that it exists on the East Coast, I have always gotten a good amount of interest in it (which I in turn forward on to the OneHealthPort folks).

I didn’t know before this day that Rick is from Boston, which probably accounts for some of my draw to his style. I think OneHealthPort should get more exposure nationally as a functional model for community collaboration and I reflected on the fact that doing business behind the Cascade Mountains in the Pacific Northwest sometimes shields the nation from some really good ideas. Place matters.

My turn – I worked to combine my work at Group Health with my work at California Healthcare Foundation, and beyond, with Participation as a theme, which is really where I have come to in terms of what I am about professionally. I think it went okay as a first run. I got great feedback from the students (all accomplished health professionals in their own right). I included some information about the 60 Minutes piece about Cedars Sinai and heparin. Luckily someone in the audience had first hand experience with this situation, and I need to adjust the presentation about this – it’s a reminder to be careful about telling other people’s stories, they know their stories better than I do (and vice versa).

One of the physicians in the class, who’s an Infectious Disease specialist, let me know that this approach to health care resonated with him as a physician supporting HIV patients, and how it was when his cohort of specialists began practicing a new way based on the needs of his patient population. I thought this was great to hear – I tell people that my cohort of physicians (Generation X) went through medical school during this time, and as a result we (I) graduated with the idea that I would work with patients who would know more than I would about their condition (which I embraced).

As far as the presentation I need to tighten it up more, and link every section to the concept of participation, and maybe a little leading on what should be done to foster it (study it in the leadership context among health providers? study it in the leadership context among patients guiding health systems? Going beyond studying participation of patients in their care). One of the parting commenters said to me, “It was very entertaining, it needs more substance,” and then, “you asked for feedback, so I wanted to give it to you.” I’ll take it, and since I’m now an East Coaster, directness really works.

I’ll wait to post the slides at the end of the month, so I can work up these ideas a little more.

Thanks again, Dave and University of Washington eMHA students for allowing me to continuously improve my continuous improvement!


Ted – you were an awesome presenter at my EMHA class at the UW. Your blog shows that you were open to the feedback given by my classmates. Good luck on 8/28 with your presentation to AHQR. Patients are the focus of healthcare.

Wow Traci, what a great compliment, the open to feedback part is that one that struck me the most. I want to use it as a measure in the future…the experience was good because I/others were open to feedback.

I'm sure someone somewhere has an RSS feed of all the times I wasn't open to feedback – it's a journey, not a destination, right? Right. Thanks again for entertaining my presence,


Ted Eytan, MD