How Are We Ever Going to Fix This Mess?

Ok, try something for me. Go one day and try not to talk to anyone about how they are feeling, how you are feeling, or how someone else is feeling. Could you do it? Really, could you? Nope, I didn’t think you could.

Health and wellness surrounds us. We are consumed by it. It’s so bad it’s almost become standard small talk, like the weather.

At HealthSparq, we know that health care isn’t something to be ignored or made fun of (well, maybe a little). It’s a huge issue that touches everyone in our country. The system isn’t working for people and we know it. That’s why we launched #WhatTheHealthCare in order to highlight what isn’t working. But now, we’re going a step further.

What’s the next step?
We were tired of hearing “consumers this” and “patients that” as if consumers and patients are some ethereal entities that no one in the health care industry can comprehend. How many health care conferences do you see consumers at? Exactly. Very few! So we decided to do something about it by hosting our first-ever (hopefully annual) What’s the Fix? event on June 14.

What is What’s the Fix?
It might be easier to explain what it’s not. It’s not a typical health care conference where the industry talks to itself. It won’t be overly polished and doesn’t feature highly paid professional speakers.

It’s a gathering of real people who’ve overcome amazing obstacles and have done it despite the system, not because of it. I bet you’ve never imagined building an artificial pancreas and letting anyone and everyone hack it? Well, one of our speakers has done just that.

It’s an event designed for normal, everyday people who have driven change to communicate directly to the people that can make tangible changes happen. And when people who drive change talk to people who can make change, magical changes can happen! (Lots of change, can you feel it?)

But it’s not just about real, authentic, compelling speakers. It’s about what we do with what those speakers tell us. We are asking people to make commitments to help change the dynamic of health care. Not things like “I pledge to fix health care” because that’s BS and impossible. But more tangible things. For example, an individual can ask three people about their health care stories, write up some common themes, and share them with social media. A company, health system, health plan, etc can commit to bringing real patients in for focus groups once a month, to bounce ideas off of them and let them call BS on things that feel too “inside baseball”. For this to work, the commitments have to be achievable.

Why us and why now?
We are one of the companies out there in health care that puts people at the center of everything we do. Whether it’s input into our roadmap, ongoing testing, research, talking to people, etc, we are kind of (ok, extremely) obsessed.

And the reason we are doing this now is because health care is going through, and will continue to go through, some massive changes and upheavals. I could argue that hearing real people’s voices in health care has never been more important.

And, why do I care?
Unfortunately, I’ve had too many issues with health care in my family. And as we’ve gone through all of it, one person has done more to help my kids and me recover than any of our doctors: my wife. She is my inspiration for this conference. She’s never taken “no” or “those don’t work.” Instead, she’s taught herself everything when she’s needed to and healed us as a result. And that’s why I want to bring all of these amazing stories to life. There’s so much to learn from those who have been successful and can now drive the change we need.

Join the #WTFix movement! Make a commitment around how you can help drive change. They can be easy commitments. Ask three neighbors about their health care stories. Bring consumers into your company. Or, just think more about what needs to change. The more we all start thinking and doing, the more we can help untangle this mess.

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