Momentum in Minneapolis: A Report from the Latest Lab

By Eva Starrak

On a crisp and beautiful day in early October, roughly thirty people gathered to attend the seventh – and last – Flip the Clinic Lab in Minneapolis, MN. The venue, and backdrop of the Minneapolis skyline tinged with a hint of autumn, could not have been more inspiring to those in attendance. As participants filtered into the sun filled room, a few entering as an assembled group, but many attending solo, they were encouraged to share their morning coffee with an unfamiliar face. As I drifted around the room, I caught bits and pieces of conversations popping up between these new acquaintances. It became clear quickly that a theme was already emerging: a great sense of care for the Minneapolis community among the participants, who included doctors, nurses, students, educators, patients, and local business stakeholders.

After an introduction to the methods behind Flip the Clinic, we dove right into pinch points – or a specific source of frustration in your personal or professional health experience that you’re passionate about transforming. This exercise began with a paired discussion of our personal pinch points. I was lucky enough to be paired with a woman who had worked as a pediatric nurse for many years. My background resides in fundraising for a non-profit pediatric care facility, but I have zero hands-on clinical experience. it was fascinating to learn that, despite our different backgrounds, our observations of the limitations within healthcare were strikingly similar. We were then asked to write a short, thoughtful statement of our pinch point, which we shared with the group. These pinch points were grouped into clusters that identified seven areas requiring urgent transformation: culturally and linguistically appropriate care, lack of personalized care, poor follow-up, navigating insurance options, lack of effective communication and documentation, lack of variety of ways to access clinicians, and lack of coordination of personalized care.

The results of the clustering activity not only exposed the areas of the Minneapolis health community that require the greatest change, but also echoed the outcomes of the two previous Labs I have attended since joining the Flip the Clinic team in September – Princeton and Philadelphia. While each community is unique, the overwhelming theme of each Lab is a need for enhanced care that focuses on the individual.

In Minneapolis, participants of the Lab were eager and ready to take those pinch points and say “so, how are we going to fix this together?” By the end of the day, a handful of Flips had emerged – from improving workflow within the clinic setting, to enhancing communication strategies between patients and providers. Looking back at the initial conversations from the morning, it was incredible to see how Flips had taken shape and become refined throughout the course of the day. After experiencing, first hand, the wonderful community atmosphere that surrounds Minneapolis, I’m eager to hear how they continue to build upon this momentum to create a cultural shift in health care that benefits each member of their community.