Human being trumps human doing : DC Health Innovation Week recap

The quote in the title of the post comes from Christine Kraft (@ChristineKraft) who belts out the wisdom at regular intervals. This is my reflection (and last) post for DC Health Innovation Week, which ran from June 6 – 11, 2011, as proclaimed by Mayor Vince Gray (@mayorvincegray).

Here are my selected photo pics from the week – click to enlarge:

The other two quotes from Christine that I’d like to share, in paraphrase form are:

“We need to live outside our hashtag once in a while.”


“We’re in the innovation clown car.”

Both are true, and both were achieved last week. Starting with The Walking Gallery, we moved beyond health care as a stock photograph of a family running through a field with rainbows or sitting in front of a computer with both arms raised with peace signs. In HealthCamp people (okay, me) got to try out new ideas to a receptive audience to see how far ahead of reality I am – I think I’m typically 1-2 years ahead of my time, which is both fun and…challenging (for me :)).

My Health Data Initiative experience was cut short by the celebration of National Partnership for Women and Famiies’ 40th. I always brake for diversity.

The Health Innovation Summit showed me that there is no age or experience limit to thinking openly with a flexible agenda. I got one great idea that I am going to act on and another to ponder. The act on is that when I shadow in a medical office, I am going to start the first 30 minutes in the waiting room, to see the experience in front of the double doors of the exam room. The ponder is about physicians being a vulnerable population in population care efforts – are they at risk for not receiving preventive care interventions and do they need to be monitored more carefully? I don’t know, but I know who to ask.

The Code-a-Thon was like a summer day on the quad, hatching plans with the royalty of social media, @Endogoddess @Philbaumann @2Healthguru , and this was also cut short by another celebration of diversity, Washington DC’s lesbian gay bisexual transgender pride event.

Since I am one of only two people who attended every event, I have to say that the tone, energy, and focus was so dramatically different every day. As the MGM CEO on  March , 2011’s Undercover Boss said about his casino, “This is a building, people bring this building alive.” So true.

I like what Chris McCarthy said in his blog post about the Health Innovation Summit:

We’re not robots who are data mining. We’re people who are multidimensional and deeply complex. Celebrate this, and you will find yourself at amazing dinners, tasting new wines, laughing about old exes, AND making a connection to get your latest idea launched. Life is sweet, and the most unexpected, serendipitous moments are the sweetest.

In the photos above, I’m being a clerk, documenting people who are brave and live outside their hashtag, they dig in past the data to get the patient story and wear it on their sleeves, and on their backs. Speaking of my back, there were a lot of scenes like this last week as well:

I wore my jacket with pride all week, and it was a great experience to be in the flow of a conversation and then be tapped on the shoulder to be asked “what’s that on your back, there?”

In some of these conversations more than one person said to me, “I hope you didn’t lose your best suit.” My response to that is now this is my best suit.

It’s just like life in health care, you can choose live in the stock photo or the hashtag (which some people choose to), or be open to the reality that we’re here for something else.

See you in the clown car, thanks for a terrific week, Washington, DC.


Tim –

Praise of the highest magnitude considering the kind of design excellence that comes from @HealthcareILN !

Keep teaching me,


Ted Eytan, MD