Before they were stars, a visit with Dorothy Teeter, from the CMS Innovation Center

People sometimes make fun of me for taking photographs in my work (*cough* Matthew Holt), however, my visit with Dorothy Teeter, who is now Senior Policy Advisor at Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health (@kptotalhealth), reminded me that I’ve been doing it for a really long time.

This January, 2012 article in the Harvard Business Review, reminded me why:Vision Statement: Before They Were Stars – Harvard Business Review, talks about creating photographic organizational history:

Most professionals spend large chunks of their lives at work, but they rarely have photographs of themselves at the office. Beyond recording this key backdrop of individual lives, photos can be an important part of organizational history. Consider the iconic 1978 photo (below)of Microsoft’s first employees: It exists only because a member of the group won a session with a local portrait photographer and decided to include coworkers in the shoot. Now it’s ensconced in tech start-up lore.

In Dorothy’s case, this is especially important. I was especially delighted to show her the progress of My Health Manager (near 4,000,000 members registered for secure access) because she catalyzed one of the first projects of its kind in the United States, probably a precursor to this work. In July-August, 2000, she was the Chief Information Officer of Group Health Cooperative in Washington, State. She led a stealth project, eventually a public one, to allow patients to securely access their health information and e-mail their doctors.

Here’s my contribution to health information technology lore:

If you imagine that many doctors, hospitals and health systems today still cannot fathom allowing patients to e-mail their doctors, the significance of this work 12 years ago is even greater. I joined Dorothy’s team in July of 2000, and just a month into my tenure, I took this photograph of her, clicking the mouse that cutover the HTML-brochure-ware web site for Group Health to an an interactive one called MyGroupHealth.

Dorothy’s now serving the American people along with a cohort of other innovator leaders, at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation Center. Here are the two of us in 2012. It is great to reconnect, and to have a vision of where we came from.

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Ted Eytan, MD