Monday, January 21, 2019

Can design thinking really work in healthcare?

The idea of using design thinking in healthcare isn't a particularly novel one; in fact I've been hearing anecdotes about it for more than 15 years. But is it really happening at a system level?

In November of 2012, the voters of Travis County, Texas (read:Austin) voted to accept a not-insignificant property tax increase in order to fund the new Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. The new entity was to be led by renowned innovator Dr. Clay Johnston, formerly of UCSF in San Francisco. Dr. Johnston knew that if the new medical school was going to fulfill its promise to re-design healthcare for the citizens of Travis County (and by extension, central Texas), it would take more than a few "design thinking anecdotes."

For that reason, Dr. Johnston tapped Stacey Chang, formerly the head of Ideo's health practice, to lead the Design Institute for Health - a collaboration between Dell Medical School and the UT School of Fine Arts. And only 3 1/2 years into this grand experiment, it's showing signs of paying off, starting with one of the most significant challenges in healthcare today: taking a proactive approach to dealing with mental health.

Check out the interview with Stacey Chang on the DataPoint podcast below, and find more information on the show at And don't forget to subscribe, rate, review and share from wherever you get your podcasts!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Are nurses the missing link in healthcare innovation?

"When I ask nurses if they perceive themselves as innovators, typically very few hands go up. Most nurses don't see themselves that way. But when I ask them if they do 'work-arounds' while performing patient care, hands begin to go up. If I ask them if they've ever 'MacGyvered' anything during their shift, almost all the hands go up. The fact is that nurses ARE innovators; they just haven't thought of their work in that way."
- Dr. Bonnie Clipper, Vice President of Innovation at the American Nurses Association

It's impossible to talk to Bonnie Clipper and not get excited about what the future holds for nurses. For years, nurses have been among the unsung heroes of the care delivery team. Now, through her work at the ANA, Dr. Clipper has been working to unlock all of that potential. Check out the page for this episode for key links referenced in the podcast, as well as to subscribe through your favorite podcast channel. Or just listen below!

Special thanks are due to Brian Lang (Energize Health), the organizing force behind the recent Health Equity Hackathon, where this interview was recorded. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Talking Open Healthcare Data with Fred Trotter

I am thrilled to launch the DataPoint podcast with this fun & entertaining conversation I recently had with Fred Trotter - a true pioneer in Open Data in healthcare. I met Fred six years ago when, after 2 years and several Freedom of Information Act requests, his company released the first tranche of open data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Take a listen as Fred and I talk through the evolution of Open Data & what it means for the future of healthcare in the US.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Introducing DataPoint - A Podcast Focused on Data & Analytics in Healthcare

I'm really excited to announce that my podcast - DataPoint - is now available for subscriptions on Stitcher! Every other week, I'll be featuring a trending topic in health data, frequently joined by a leading thinker in the space. Each show will focus on a vision for the future, and the real work that’s happening today to bring that future about in the context of the “quadruple aim”: enhancing patient experience, improving population health, improving provider experience and reducing costs in the system. Join us as we talk about trends – and the people who make them – going behind the news to unearth meaning and context.

Give the trailer a listen - and don't forget to subscribe!

Monday, May 15, 2017

US Physicians and Health Reform - An Online Study

As you’re likely aware, the US House of Representatives last week narrowly passed House of Representatives Bill 2192 – more commonly known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA) or Trumpcare. There was a time when physicians wouldn’t have been considered terribly “political,” and there still is a strongly pervasive “culture of permission” in medicine (see Dr. Bryan Vartabedian‘s thinking on this evolving phenomenon). However, like many other things we’ve taken for granted in the Trump era, the old rules really just don’t apply.
In order to assess physicians’ reactions to our most recent version of health reform, we consulted the MDigitalLife Online Health Ecosystem database. As a frame of reference, during the 3-year period between 2014 and 2016, .43% of physicians’ posts were related to health reform*. In the “new normal” of 2017, that percentage has risen to 3.1%, an increase of more than 6x.
Because we suspected that the passage of HR2192 in the house was going to cause a firestorm among online physicians, we decided to zoom in on the week that it was passed – Monday the 1st of May through Friday the 5th of May. As suspected, the passage of the house bill caused quite a stir.
Review the entire 3-Post series here; originally published on

  1. Online Physicians and Health Reform - By the Numbers
  2. Online Physicians and Health Reform - A Closer Look
  3. Online Physicians Overwhelmingly Oppose Health Reform Bill