Elements of a Flipped Clinic, Part III: Joyful

By Flip the Clinic

This post is the third in a series focusing on the five elements of a Flipped Clinic. For a bit more background, be sure to check out our first two posts that discuss the Flipped Clinic as people-centered and nourishing.

A Flipped Clinic is one that’s Joyful.

Way back in September 2013, when Flip the Clinic was first getting started, we threw an event with some heavyweights in health care innovation. What we learned surprised us.

With endless paperwork, jam-packed appointment schedules, and constant high-stress environments, many of the clinicians found it challenging to find joy in their work. They desperately wanted to re-capture that feeling that compelled them to choose medicine in the first place—that all that education and training equipped them to meaningfully improve people’s lives. Emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and diminished feelings of personal accomplishment had taken over.

This conversation inspired Flip #18, one of Flip the Clinic’s very first. Flip #18 draws from Dr. Yang Yang, Dr. Rachel Remen, and the University of Wisconsin’s work in mindfulness. Their techniques guide physicians through reflection, movement, and listening exercises, in an effort to help them find more joy on a daily basis.

Since that first Flip, several more have popped up from Labs around the country. Flip #40, for instance, proposes that physicians identify tasks that can be done by others with a so-called “Spare Me” button. This “Spare Me” button would help clinics find a better way to distribute the workload, freeing up space for physicians to spend more quality time with patients.

Flip #49 engages both patients and clinic staff in staff appreciation programs, giving everyone an opportunity to celebrate exceptional service. And Flip #50 shifts the clinic conversation from insurance copays to the patient’s health goals. When the visit is conducted on the patient’s terms, an exam begins to feel like something that will improve their lives, instead burden them.

Who says the clinic can’t be fun? Flip #63 meets pediatric patients where they are. This Flip suggests that illustration and kid’s books could be an effective delivery tool for information and risks about a procedure like an MRI or CT scan.

The goal of course, is for clinicians to experience joy and passion in their work daily, and for patients to find delight in the health care encounter.

We’d love to know what you think! What other Flips could we use in the clinic and out of it to make health care a more joyful environment? Stay tuned because we’ll be tackling transparency next week.

As a reminder, here are the full 5 Elements of a Flipped Clinic:


People are the heart of health care—and we’re more complex (and interesting!) than a diagnosis or a decision. Goals and values, interests and experiences are valued.


Patients and clinicians feel welcomed and supported both by the clinic’s design and by the entire clinic community.


Providers experience joy and passion in their work daily. Patients find delight in the health care encounter.


Communication is clear, information is accessible and useable, and in conversation, clinician and patient voices are given equal value.


It values the people and places outside the traditional clinic walls that play an important role in a person’s health.