Soft Release Team Needed: the Flip the Clinic Playbook

By Whitney Bowman-Zatzkin

This morning, I adventured to Phoenix, Arizona for a revisit of one of our first communities at Flip the Clinic, as the guest of the awesome team at the Arizona Health Information Management Association (AzHIMA). I’m always blown away by the eager-to-serve, thoughtful informaticists we have behind the scenes in healthcare. If you aren’t already, connect to your local AHIMA chapters and say hello. I assure you, they are ready for you!

Flip the Clinic first visited Arizona about 18 months ago with our second-ever Flip the Clinic Lab. Working together that day, we dug into the frustrations, local dynamics, and desperate creativity of the local community. Members from tech startups in health care, competing health agencies, patients and caregivers, independent clinicians, and even the Maricopa County department of education for arrived, curious to see what Flip the Clinic even was, and explore how it might be used.

We had an awesome corps of patients and caregivers in the room who explained why ideas would likely fail, offered options to advance new ideas, and voiced their own dreams. Our education friends shared expertise with our health-anchored folks about how humans learn  and why information doesn’t always get retained, points that I still reference when I speak about Flip the Clinic. We had a nutritionist create a game to play to encourage health grocery shopping and we had a solo practitioner earnestly ask for guidance crafting a business plan to franchise her practice model.

Our legacy work on Flip #19 was resurrected at that meeting and Amanda Greene (@LALupusLady) launched the web campaign #FliptheWait to gather pictures of waiting rooms and should-be waiting room designs from Twitter users across the US. A month later, this effort evolved again to encourage staff at a medical practice to sit in their waiting room for 15 minutes and truly experience the wait. Our friends at LIVESTRONG Foundation did just that, observing their clinic waiting room onsite for 15 minutes and immediately sprung into action to add wi-fi access, clean the walls and furniture, and add soft music.

Working together that day, we were surrounded by an incredible Andy Warhol exhibit focused on challenging the framework for how we see the world.

We, at Flip the Clinic, then challenged our own framework for Flip the Clinic, and the voices of our community guided our next steps. Our next events were stronger as a result of those changes and we carved a new path forward for our post-even processes and community assessment. That path eventually became known as the Elements of a Flipped Clinic — our best thinking on what a Flipped Clinic should look like.

Evolving a product or idea, or staying nimble when inventing one, requires great humility and creativity among a team and we are always inspired by the graceful urgency of those teams coming together to work with Flip the Clinic.

From traveling the country, meeting people where they live and thrive, to one-on-one efforts with patients and clinicians across the country – we’ve been focused on building the things that work and the ways to achieve them. Flip the Clinic was built by its community to craft the answers needed for the current problems being faced in healthcare. Together, we have co-created our interpretation of what “better” means and strengthened our resolve to find the things that work in the system.

Today, we are announcing a call to identify a 3-week workgroup to help us advance our latest work on the Hero’s journey through Flip the Clinic, the Flip the Clinic Playbook. This journey was crafted through our last two years of work with communities just like yours – achieving great things and working hard, hoping for a little bit more.

We hope you will join us.