CEO Craig Brammer greets the crowd at NewCo 2016

It was a day like any other. You were walking down the street, on the way to your favorite deli, when…BAM…you were struck by a macaw. The endangered bird came out of nowhere. Really –  you think to yourself “Aren’t these things extinct?”
But you put your puzzled inner dialogue aside for a moment because you were injured, and it’s bad enough to require a trip to the Emergency Department (ED).
Though it sounds like the kind of scripted physical comedy only found in movies, it is a real, reported medical emergency, as published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).
It also happened to be one of five emergency scenarios more than 60 people encountered during an interactive healthcare journey at The Health Collaborative’s NewCo session on Thursday, July 21 at Cintrifuse.
Part business conference, part festival, NewCo is designed to create an immersive experience for participants to explore and be inspired by organizations that drive purposeful transformation in their industries. Attendees chose their preferred sessions from over 95 innovative local companies, then spent the day connecting to startup founders and thought leaders from all over the region.
NewCo attendees of The Health Collaborative’s session “Top 5 Healthcare Fails and What We’re Doing in Cincinnati to Fix Them” participated in a simulation demonstrating some of the most broken aspects of our healthcare system.
Upon arrival, our attendees, (,  were admitted to the ED and given a hospital wristband with one of the codes below signifying a unique, and very real-world diagnosis:

  • V97.33XD: Sucked into jet engine, subsequent encounter [with physician]
  • Z63.1: Problems in relationship with in-laws
  • Y93.D: V91.07XD: Burn due to water-skis on fire, subsequent encounter [with physician]
  • V9542XA: Spacecraft crash injuring occupant
  • W61.12XA: Struck by macaw, initial encounter [with physician]

Armed with a new diagnosis, participants embarked on their healthcare journey:

  1. Tiffany Mattingly, Director, Clinical Quality Improvement

After diagnosis and discharge from the ED, the “patient” challenge was to successfully navigate the highest quality care in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. In our scenario, the first task – and potential fail – was to facilitate their own transition of care, or to put it more simply, to make an appointment with a physician. But how do you find the best doctor? It’s not as easy as finding the best restaurant, or nearest Pokémon, in town.

  1. Mary Maune, Senior Project Manager, YourHealthMatters

Next, our cohort of healthcare seekers realized that once they found the best doctor for their bizarre condition, (Hint: they visited our consumer-facing site,, they couldn’t actually be sure that the physician’s office would be able to access their medical records. Does YOUR doctor know all of your medical information? Is it accessible electronically or still locked up in a paper file somewhere? Can you go to a specialist outside of your network and trust that they will have all your information to make the best decisions about your care in real time?

  1. Tim Polsinelli, Director, Informatics

The answer should always be, “YES.” At The Health Collaborative,  we’re working to make sure that EVERY doctor can access your information, at the right time, every time. We’re not quite there yet, but our goal is to connect every doctor, nurse, and pharmacist from Dayton to Northern Kentucky (and beyond!) to ensure better care coordination across all the places a patient may receive care. Your health information where you need it, when you need it. We’re on it.

  1. Sara Bolton, Director, Programs & Services Operations

Moving through our healthcare journey: once our patients visited their newly-found physician to receive follow-up care for their diagnosis, they were faced with yet another dilemma: how does this healthcare get paid for, and by whom? While the vast majority of docs are good people who just want to help us feel our best, the sad reality is that the traditional healthcare payment system is not set up to help them do this to the best of their ability. In fact, most doctors are instead paid for the volume of services they provide – not for high quality, and not for great health outcomes.
So, for the purposes of our simulation: Those patients whose doctor was still on this traditional payment system only got to spend about 7 minutes with her, and couldn’t appropriately determine a care plan in that amount of time But for the rest, there was good news: healthcare stakeholders are working to bring new and innovative payment models, ones that pay doctors to keep people well, to our region. Plain and simple, this means more time with your doctor, a team-based approach to your care, and alternative options to in-person visits like telemedicine. At The Health Collaborative, we’re working to ensure that before too long every doctor’s office will be structured and reimbursed in this innovative new way.

  1. Laura Randall, Director, Gen-H

The completion of our healthcare adventure posed to patients a question: what if your diagnosis had been something entirely avoidable in the first place? What if, instead of providing “sick care,” we focused as a community on keeping each other well? In the Greater Cincinnati region, over 30% of what makes us sick actually happens because of our lifestyle choices. Another 40% is caused by social determinants of health, such as the part of town we live in or the amount of education we’ve received. Poor health is costing our region billions of dollars per year in medical expenses and lost workforce productivity.
At The Health Collaborative, we’re the backbone organization for Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky’s Collective Impact on Health Initiative, known as Gen-H, or the Health Generation. Along with an unprecedented number of diverse stakeholders, from the region’s major employers and health systems to public health and community organizations like United Way, we’re working to make the healthy choice an easier choice for ALL in our communities. We’re addressing equity and other factors that stifle dreams and keep people from realizing their full potential.
Cincinnati is a leader in so many ways. Why shouldn’t health and healthcare be one of them? We’re convinced that it can, and will be.
…Just stay off those flammable water skis, please!