TED 2014: Flip the Clinic!

First, let’s get the plug out of the way, shall we? Here’s the deal: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a new initiative, Flip the Clinic—and we want you to join us.

We’re launching the new Flip the Clinic site this week. Here’s the trailer. Please take a look, and then let me know what you think:


So, what’s with all this flipping business?  What’s all this talk about health conversations?

Photo by Bret Hartman

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation wants to help you and others across the nation determine what your culture of health looks like and then, more importantly, go build it. We’re pretty serious about this culture of health.  It’s important, and it’s time. We need all hands on deck, so we’re looking for help in lots of interesting places.

Last week, we looked for help at TED 2014 in Vancouver at the epicenter of technology, entertainment and design.  We asked the luminaries, what does a culture of health mean to you?

Here’s a sample of what they said:

At TED we hosted a workshop moderated by Thomas Goetz, former executive editor of WIRED and RWJF entrepreneur-in-residence, along with panelists Tim Brown of IDEO and Jane McGonigal —all hugely successful past TED speakers. They led a packed room discussing design considerations for building a culture of health, then asked the participants to jump to the task.

Photo by Duncan Davidson

Tim Brown observed that we don’t really have the opportunity to talk about what a healthful society should even look like—what kind of healthy culture do we really want? The group agreed that people—all of us—will need to build that healthful society.

It’s not a matter of someone else building it then worrying if the audience will come. The people need to build it. Then we won’t have to worry about people coming—they’ll already be there.

Another major design consideration—in a healthful culture, as many people as possible would have a realistic hope of realizing great health and well-being. But do people have the tools to do that?

Do they have the ability to do that—and even if they do, do they know that they do?  Do they even know they can hope for that?

Heady stuff.

Excellent and efficient health care would obviously be an important part of our healthful society.  That’s where you and Flip the Clinic enter.

If you have ideas, energy, concern and passion—and want to work with others on those ideas (you could even call them flips if you wanted), big and small, to make the time patients spend with doctors, nurses and other health professionals better—even great—then please join us.  We need you.

If you would like the opportunity to talk about and try new things that move that relationship from inefficiency, weariness and dysfunction to improved communication and healing and, yes, (don’t laugh) joy—then join us.

The time is right for this conversation, don’t you think? It’s time to bring joy to healing—and even more importantly, it’s time to free us out of the clinic when we don’t need it—to create that healthful culture we want, need and crave.

(Or at least we would if we could talk about it.)

Michael W. Painter, JD, MD (@paintmd) is a senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

1 reply »

  1. Can you envision a world where people really take charge of their own health and health care resources, where doctors, nurses, and lay advisors focus on health rather than sickness, and the whole health team is devoted to prevention, patient-centered chronic disease care, and promoting wellness? Let’s flip the clinic.