Ep025: Whitney Bowman-Zatzkin on Reverse Engineering the Medical Clinic

By April 4, 2017Podcast

Do we have healthcare backwards? Many seem to think so, including my next guest, Whitney Bowman-Zatzkin who is the Director of a new movement and initiative called “Flip the Clinic”. Founded by Thomas Goetz and inspired by Sal Khan’s ‘flip the classroom’ initiative, it can be argued that – similar to education – we too need to reverse engineer our health delivery models.

After all, clinic visits today often function as mere qualitative and quantitative data collection visits leaving only seven minutes of precious patient-physician interaction time. With advances in technology, we can flip this experience and optimize the time allowed for discussions around detailed treatment plans. Wouldn’t that ultimately create better outcomes on all triple aim measures?  To date, the data certainly seems to support a flipped model.

Join me today while Whitney and I go deep into exploring the ramifications, inspirations, and implications of flipping the clinic.  All this and more on today’s episode.

Now, That’s Unusual.

About Whitney Bowman-Zatzkin

Whitney Bowman-Zatzkin, MPA, MSR is the director of Flip the Clinic, an initiative to reinvent the healthcare experience funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The project originated when Thomas Goetz, the first entrepreneur-in-residence at RWJF, learned about the ‘flipped classroom’ model of education. Much the way a flipped classroom seeks to make the best use of class time with a simple shift in practice, Flip the Clinic encourages the implementation of simple ‘flips’ – bold new ways of approaching the healthcare encounter – that optimize time and improve the process.

Bowman-Zatzkin got her unofficial start in healthcare as a small child, going on rounds with her physician father. Fifteen years ago, she began managing her father’s OBGYN practice, and during her tenure there, she launched the clinic’s electronic health record and got involved in state-level advocacy efforts.

After graduating from the University of Connecticut with a master’s in both survey research and public administration, Bowman-Zatzkin moved to DC and entered the policy world, where she spent five years working with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. She went on to manage the TEDMED Great Challenges Program, an initiative to encourage conversations among members of an online community about the most challenging health issues through Google+ hangouts. In her role with TEDMED, Bowman-Zatzkin learned about Goetz’s work with Flip the Clinic and secured an interview.

When Goetz contacted her several months later with the offer to work directly with Flip the Clinic, she seized the opportunity. She has served as director since July of 2014. Bowman-Zatzkin is passionate about connecting the dots within the healthcare system to provoke positive change for the greater good.

Key Interview Takeaways

Flip the Clinic is an open experiment to transform the healthcare experience via flips, actionable ideas that solve specific problems. For example, Flip 55 seeks to increase patient awareness of electronic health record access, repairing the disconnect between the availability of digital records and patient acquisition.

A truly flipped clinic has five components: It is transparent, joyful, nourishing, expansive, and people-centered. The program teaches a path to progress, facilitating permanent, evolving and lasting change in those areas.

Flip the Clinic is not dependent upon technology, though you do need basic internet access to download the available resources. The program seeks to provide pragmatic interventions that cost a maximum of $25 to implement.

The problems of healthcare will not be solved by a single system. Flip the Clinic brings together a community which recognizes the flaws and works to implement the simple, easily translatable concepts of the program.

Flip the Clinic works with a variety of stakeholders, including clinicians, patients, government officials, and university faculty. The organization has partnered with states to assist their Departments of Public Health translate data into action and assisted developing ACOs in assessing a city’s needs.

Flip the Clinic also functions to translate daunting policy changes (i.e.: HIPAA) and produce simplified, streamlined approaches for the average front desk employee to do their work well.

Health care (and perhaps every industry) needs a What If… Building. On a tour of NASA, Bowman was introduced to the concept of a space where people spend their days thinking of potential scenarios (“What if this happened?”), and then writing the engineer’s protocol describing how to fix the problem if it does arise.

Connect with Whitney Bowman-Zatzkin

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