Photo Friday: The patient in the room changes everything. Everything.

Room Reconfiguration, now everyone’s smiling. View on

This week’s photograph was taken at a roundtable entitled “Where’s the Patient,” hosted by the Institute for Federal Health Care and Lifetime Health Diary.

Why is everyone smiling in this photograph? Because this is the room we walked into in the morning:

Standard govt. room setup – view on

As the caption says, we’re used to this, it’s the normal tent card rectangle table thing. However, this group has known each other too long and has too great an obsession with learning from each other, and seeing us convene this way was too hard:

Tear down these tables – View on

So Regina brought up the idea of an immediate room reconfiguration, and I seconded the motion by saying,”let’s get up and do it!” So we did it.

We come into rooms , environments, experiences like this all the time, where there’s a pre-set way of doing things, and it feels a little bit like we’re actors in a play whose script we didn’t write. This is where the patient comes in, they’re not actors in the script. They’re the audience, and they can ask for whatever they want. And that’s why they change everything.

Amy Tenderich @AmyDBMine told a personal story about the lack of a true “care team” in health care – one of the most knowledgable people about diabetes in the United States talked about how she still has to create and maintain her team, it is not there for her, a stark contrast from her upbringing in an integrated health system (she is from the bay area), where coordination and collaboration was the norm, in her experience. Lygeia Ricciardi @lygeia told a very compelling story about how the physicians involved in her birth experience did not support some of her support choices. In both of these points, it’s important for the physicians in the room to listen for understanding rather than agreement – there are a lot of pearls in these experiences and most patients do not make or want to make choices that are misinformed. Sometimes their choices are more informed than their physicians’ choices on their behalf. That’s what I learned yesterday.

More photos below, the group present , including @epatientdave @reginaholliday @katekson @adrane was an incredibly thoughtful and experienced set of health and business professionals and people who brought more than knowledge, they brought the ability to care. Oh, I didn’t get a list of attendees Twitter handles so if you were there and wanted to add your info and/or impressions, please do so in the comments! Of course, even if you weren’t there, let me know what you think.


there was a tremendous amount of invaluable insight from friends (old and new). As @Lygeia said we became a tribe with a common passion. The big step is to do more than talk. We need action. One step will be that taken by @adrane. Alexandra committed to setting up a personal health record. It is a small but important step. If only 5 people in this room of 30 health professionals currently have PHRs then we have a long journey ahead.

For my part I am committed to promoting these discussions to larger audiences around the country and around the world. Join me by coming to a HealthCamp event. Check out for information about a healthcamp near you. Like HealthCampSandiego on March 20th or HealthCampCT@Yale on April 2nd –


Bummed that I had to skip out of this meeting at the last minute. Certainly looks like you all had fun!

On the other hand I have about 4 PHRs (even thought they don't exist), and I used to have about 20. So I would have brought the average up!

We missed you Matthew. You would have definitely evened things up with your PHR experience. It was a good meeting. We all came at the problem from different directions but we very much dedicated in a patient centered care approach.

It was an inspired (and inspiring) discussion and one that will continue to infuse our thinking (and our work). Bring your expertise and your passion to the table, then move the table out of the way and share. What a metaphor-Bravo! Looking forward to continuing the conversation.

I just loved the idea of having such a diverse group in the room! Tremendous learning experience, deep insights and passionate about transforming healthcare folks. The room re-configuration by Regina Holiday (@reginaholliday ) was an amazing step towards a behavior change "right now" and "right here".

I think we all agreed on addressing a few outstanding issues that in some way may lead to a better patient engagement and improved health outcomes: transparency (in every aspect: cost/bill, health data, etc) and behavior change. I have come to realize that behavior change may be the most critical aspect…

Ted, thank you for taking and putting the photos up there. I have more pics from the event on our FB page : and Flickr: .

Would love to keep our conversation going!

Ted Eytan, MD