What does it mean to be a healthcare revolutionary?

Recently at the Planetree Annual Conference Planetree’s President Susan Frampton defined attendees as revolutionaries.  It was a gathering of more than 1400 individuals highly engaged with changing our healthcare delivery system.  But what does it mean to be a healthcare revolutionary?

Our country was birthed by a group of revolutionaries who had tired of the status quo and desired to change to way things operated. Similarly, in today’s U.S. healthcare system many people are tiring of the status quo.  People are tiring of being uninsured and underinsured in the wealthiest nation on the planet.  People are tiring of the third party payer system that disenfranchises those with health insurance from the conversation over cost and quality in healthcare.  People are tiring of providers who don’t include them in decisions about their own bodies.  People are tiring of a healthcare system that spends nearly twice as much as other nations yet has a lower average life expectancy.

Healthcare revolutionaries are rising up from coast to coast prepared to fight to change the way that healthcare is delivered in the U.S.  Healthcare revolutionaries want a stronger focus on public health and prevention of illness and disease.  They want patients to be included in the conversation not only of decisions that are made for their own bodies but for decisions that are made in healthcare organizations and government about how healthcare will be delivered.  Healthcare revolutionaries want to see caregivers and providers engaged in the meaning and purpose that brought them into the caring professions.

To be a healthcare revolutionary means that you are willing to take up the fight to change a badly broken healthcare system that spends too much and cares too little.  It means that you want to be part of the process of asking questions and coming up with innovative solutions that will reshape and rebuild the U.S. healthcare system into something that is worthy of caring for everyone not just those privileged enough to have health insurance.


Joel High is a healthcare consultant who works with healthcare organizations around the country to assist them in implementing Patient-centered care. He has an MDiv and an MBA. Joel is passionate about creating change in healthcare that impacts the patient experience and brings meaning back to the work of healthcare professionals. He lives in Omaha, NE.

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  • Marinell High

    Great blog article by such a brilliant young man! It is good to know that there is such a group speaking and fighting for the rest of us. It gives me the strength and resolve to ask the questions and to be part of the plan rather than just doing what others think is the correct thing.

  • http://Www.ihealsolutions.com Michael F. Mascia, MD, MPH

    Thanks, Joe.
    The For Profit model does not work in healthcare. That fact has been well demonstrated over the last three decades. The Profession of Medicine has been hijacked by the Business of Medicine, so a revolution is necessary in the sense that we need a new paradigm to properly realign Doctors and Patients, to restore the Doctor Patient Relationship and to eliminate the third parties who skim 30 – 60 % of the money off the top and take it away from patient care. Toward that end, I have been advocating development of Non Profit Doctor-Patient Cooperatives for years.


    I hope to find a few like minded indidividuals who are willing to work with me to establish one … perhaps this group has a few courageous souls? Let’s see what happens.

    Perhaps the OCCUPYHEALTHCARE movement has a few folks who would like to join me in this effort.

    Dr. Mike
    MIchael F. Mascia, MD, MPH
    PS. Your OCCUPYHEALTHCARE EMAIL is not working.

  • Carmen

    The Canadian writer Lawrence Peter once said, “Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status.” That sentiment applies applies here, where we see only self-interested politicians and corporate parties clinging to this broken healthcare system. Most Americans agree that the time for change has come and cannot be sustained even by its stodgy supporters. I join you, Joel, in taking up the cause as a fellow healthcare revolutionary.

  • HurricaneRita

    Interestingly enough, the majority of uninsured individuals in America are NOT people without jobs. Many people think the uninsured are the indigent or a fringe of society. This is not the case. The system is indeed badly broken.

    Yesterday on the radio, Comfort Dental was advertising their “Gold Plan” for those who do not have insurance. It’s come to the point that providers are taking the situation into their own hands. Maybe that’s best. Maybe we should think about ways we can X the insurance companies out of the equation entirely? After all, who is really providing the service?

    • NateOsit

      Very true, Re: the uninsured. I worked at a major hospital for 2+ years without health insurance…

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  • Heal our country

    I am on the fringe of society. I uninsured and unemployed. Even when I was employed I was uninsured, because most employers rather hire two part time people instead of one full time so they don’t have to provide insurance. I’m married and because my husband’s income is right above that line of making too much to qualify for assistance but make too little to afford insurance through his employer leaves people like me on the fringe of this failing medical system. I am not enough of a burden on society and have no children so assistance for medical care is not an opion. I have progressively active arthritis, and I have to see a doctor in order to get disability. My body is falling apart at the age of 36 and I can’t do anything about it. Because my arthritis is progressing so rapidly it places limitations on the kind of work I can do. So, to the person who claims that uninsured aren’t on the fringe then what do you call it? By definition the phrase is true to its definition.