Pursuing The Triple Aim Book Launch Event, at Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health

“You talk about it (the challenge of change) like it’s past tense” – Kate Koplan, MD

These were the awesome words of Kate Koplan, MD from Atrius Health ( @AtriusHealth ) when I got to see her after a 5 year hiatus and let her know that I read the story of her work with understanding of the challenge that she faced as a leader.

This was just a few of the insights that brought the launch of the “Pursuing the Triple Aim” book launch to life, at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health ( @kptotalhealth ) on June 22, 2012. You can read my review of the book itself here: Now Reading: Pursuing the Triple Aim Book (Launch Event in a separate post) | Ted Eytan, MD 

You can and should read the book; you can also become engaged with the people behind the work to increase the power of the stories, which I’ll attempt to do here.

The flow of the day

Pat McDonald, Intel – View on Flickr.com

To watch Pat McDonald, a technology executive, describe dramatic changes in health care as part of marketplace collaborative to a room of health care experts was something to behold.  She was joined by 7 other presenters, who agreed to whet the appetite of the audience in 6-minute increments, with 6 slides each (the “6 x 6”), timed, with each 6 minute block ended with a hug or a handshake (thanks for the inspiration, Laurie Ostrofsky @simplyleap / that’s how things happen at Center for Total Health).

These were followed with a facilitated discussion with the whole room, and then deeper dives in the afternoon with 4 smaller groups. There was a session of concentric conversations in the middle of the day. If you don’t know what that looks like, check out these images from January, 2012.

A few words: first, the T word = transformation

There’s no question about it, these innovators are interested in no less than changing all of health care, not just their piece of it. From the book chapter covering Intel/Viginina Mason:

They now declare that they are on a mission to “transform health care in the United States.”

Countdown to a hug! View on Flickr.com

 Each presenter made clear both the learning and the higher purpose that brought them to Washington, DC that day. When people are on a mission, they are close to unstoppable, no 6 minute slide deck with hug at the end is going to be a hurdle, and it wasn’t. Which brings me to the next word…

second, the H word = humility

When Tony DiGioia, MD told me the night before the event that he was practicing his presentation to the audience in between patients in surgical practice. I was floored. When we went around the room in the facilitated session that included Bellin Health and Virgina Mason/Intel and I asked everyone to rate their community on a scale of 1-10 on being able to transform health care and our innovators rated themselves a 4-7/10, I was again floored. Charlie Kenney was in that room and insisted that they upgrade their score. 

Regina Holliday ( @ReginaHolliday ) wanted the room to know that Bellin Health was “way more cool than their video showed” (which I will track down and post here) and told the story of how they named their electronic health record system after a patient who had a bad experience.

This seemed to be both a recurring theme and to create an extreme attraction to the work. There was, in every conversation, a desire to be even better, because excellent is not enough. This tracks what I hear from the most incredible innovators I have met, “There’s always room to improve.” On the one hand, you can’t believe it when you hear it. On the other hand, you can believe it, and admire it, because these are people you want to learn from because you know they want to learn from you. Which brings me to the next word…

third, the R word = resolve

Part of the Virgina Mason / Intel story includes the story of Mary McClinton, who Bob Mecklenburg, MD told me Virginia Mason killed. It’s actually hard to even type that word in relation to health care, but it is the word that Bob uses. He told us how Ms. McClinton was injected with chlorhexidine, an antiseptic, which was confused with another agent. This caused her organs to shut down, one after another, until Bob disconnected her ventilator, and she died, devastating her family and an entire community who depended on her leadership.

He told us how this was defining for him and for Virginia Mason, and of the resolve it created among the medical staff to be a leader in safety and transparency, which they renew in an award ceremony performed each year in Ms. McClinton’s honor every year.

I think the flow brought out resolve quite well on the part of all of the participants, which includes the resolve to try something new, to learn something new, and to work for the betterment of the people we serve. It’s why I hash tagged #TonyRocks . And to the folks at UPMC, Tony showed me the text message you sent him – I can tell you have great admiration for each other, it’s well deserved 🙂

Last word, the P word = patient (they were included)

We continue to earn the badge, thanks to the participation of Regina Holliday ( @ReginaHolliday ) and Kait Roe ( @Kaitbr ). We know two are not enough, and also that any patient is better than no patients. Me = choir :).

What’s next? I think there’s room to expose more of health care to the possibilities and people here. The Center for Total Health turned out, again, to be a great place to have this discussion and learn about the qualities of the people and organizations who pursue the Triple Aim with such dedication.

Thanks Maureen, Charlie, and all who attended to allowing us to see this first hand. Comments and additional thoughts. My photographs are below, click to see them in larger format.


Ted Eytan, MD