#iRetreatKP – My favorite things are Member Voice and Mentorship

Voices of Members For our Health (view on Flickr.com)

I just got back from this year’s Kaiser Permanente Innovation Retreat (#iRetreatKP) and am so delighted that I had the opportunity to do the two things I enjoy the most with so many people I enjoy the most: Bring the member/patient voice into the conversation, and mentorship.

I stress the word “opportunity” because the retreat is not my event (it is hosted by our Chief Information Officer, Phil Fasano – @fasanophil ), and I collaborated with a lot of people, most notably:

The members

We have over 9,000,000 of them, and Farooq Qureshi, Mackenzie, Regina Holliday (@ReginaHolliday), and Brian Swart, are four examples of how exceptional each one is. In reality, they do all the work, achieving their life goals supported by optimal health. What we are doing is respecting their contribution.

We did a few innovative things on this special panel in addition to the nationally recognized hug timer. We did a “turn the panel into the audience” at the end when they asked Kaiser Permanente the questions, and Danielle Cass (@DanielleCass) was on hand to create just the right amount of tension. Oh, and I asked everyone to come right to the stage, bring a chair, stand or sit, to be as close to the people we serve as possible. Pacing, moving around, light calesthenics are all fine, tuning the neurochemistry for a lasting impression.

This is the first group of members I have hosted that span the generations, from Gen Y all the way through Baby Boomer. And guess what, they defy stereotypes, they have as much in common as they do not, and the things they ask for are a what we are here to do anyway.

I don’t have photographs of the actual panel because I couldn’t shoot photos and facilitate at the same time :). I’m working to get some that were taken by our professional photographer and will put those up when I get them. It was gratifying to see the videographer nudge their way into the crowd to capture what was happening, and then tell me later that our members’ voice was meaningful for them, too.

Reminder of a few tenets of member/patient inclusion (and yes, we get the badge):

  • Any member is better than no member.
  • Don’t spend time looking for the “right” member to participate. They are all the right member.
  • Don’t say you couldn’t find anyone or that they are too busy to help you. They will help, all you have to do is ask.
  • Inclusion means listening as much as talking.
  • Listen. Really listen. And then teach back. Just like we ask them to do with us.

The mentors

I have at least 9,180,000 of those (members + Kaiser Permanente staff + all of Washington, DC + … ) too, with a few special ones in attendance and in leadership.

Katie Rovere (@katierovere) and I have been in a Co-mentorship relationship (GenY/GenX) for a year now, and she was present and leading a conversation about Generation Y in the workplace, as Board Member of GenKP, the Business Resource Group for Generation Y employees. GenKP, by the way, was just honored in Forbes magazine as #3 on this list: The 10 Companies With The Happiest Young Professionals – Forbes.

When Katie and I began our journey, I don’t think we could have imagined that her work would become so recognized in our organization and across the nation. The best part is, she did it herself.

I have many other co-mentors and I aspire for people to call me co-mentor, too. Here are the photographs of just some of those people.

The secret to failure is bouncing a ball alone, so why would we want to do that? Luckily, we don’t have to. Partnership always works better.

Thanks a ton to April Kennedy and Deanna Konrath from Kaiser Permanente Information Technology for creating the space for all of us to serve better in.

Ted Eytan, MD