Elements of a Flipped Clinic Part V: Expansive

By Flip the Clinic

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

A Flipped Clinic is expansive. It values the people and places outside the traditional clinic walls that play an important role in a person’s health. Health happens at home, at school, and at work, as well as with family members, friends, and neighbors. When we consider how to improve health and health care, we take in the whole picture of a person’s life.

At our Phoenix Lab last March, a group mapped out an idea to deliver health information to communities, instead of hoping communities will look for general health information in a clinic. Flip #38 believes that libraries offer an appealing opportunity to deliver underserved populations essential health, medical, and community resources, as well as guidance and support. These so-called Health Hubs would offer evidence-based information for free—and with a trusted guide to help people navigate through it.

A group from the Austin Lab dreamed up a way to bring health information into the home. Inspired by the success of companies like Birch Box and Blue Apron, which send a curated selection of goods to a customer’s door, Flip #46 proposed a package for children filled with activities, games, health-related toys, and videos that could help to bridge the gap between annual pediatric check ups for both kids and parents. The idea being that so much of health happens at home. Perhaps the clinic could more directly support it.

Another group—Flip #44, also from Austin—suggested that schools could become more central in pediatric care. For dealing with everything from lice to upper respiratory infections to behavioral issues, an active clinic on school grounds would make care more available to students and parents as issues arise.

And in Durham, Lab participants suggesting bringing family into the clinic (Flip #62). The idea was this: “Whether adhering to an exercise or eating plan, taking medication or taking on the burden of a diagnosis, the support of family or a peer group can be hugely important for patient follow through. Instead of relying on patients to engage their community, clinics could encourage community by asking patients to name a “family support representative”—someone the patient knows who will coordinate encouragement and support.” 

Over the last year, Flip the Clinic’s Lab attendees have made a compelling case for expanding the definition of a “health center” and broadening our understanding of the people who “belong” in it. Libraries, schools, and home, as well as family, friends can be enormously important in supporting a person’s health. Acknowledging these people and places is essential in building a truly Flipped Clinic.

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 expansive environment?

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.