The Big Heist will transform the public's understanding of healthcare's problems/fixes. Join the team.


Several months ago, I came to the conclusion that the only way to make the wholesale change to the healthcare industry everyone I know wants is for the healthcare equivalent of The Big Short or a Super Size Me or An Inconvenient Truth to be created. This was from someone who never had a moment in my life where I thought about making a film (more on the rationale below). To my astonishment, in the short interval since that "ah-hah moment", we have assembled a world class film-making team that includes an Academy Award nominated director/producer and a Peabody-winning director/producer not to mention talent on the business side of film-making. 

After doing our preliminary planning, the aforementioned film-maker let us know that it's possible to get a film out next year. The timing is fortuitous as we know that regardless of the election outcome, healthcare will be a topic of discussion. If a foreign country was doing to our country what healthcare is, citizens would unite as they did after Pearl Harbor, against the Nazis or immediately following 9/11. Since we have seen that all of the solutions to fix healthcare have already been invented, proven and modestly scaled we believe the solution isn't "left" or "right", it's universal. Regardless of what the outcome of the election is, we know the U.S. will have a new president and congress and that healthcare will be a topic of discussion. Consequently, we believe we can help shape the healthcare conversation in a productive direction rather than how partisans might frame the discussion. In a short amount of time, the film project has come a long ways.

I've been gratified by the number of people who've reached out to me asking how they can help. Ultimately, there'll be several ways but the first thing you can help with is identifying individuals, foundations or companies interested in the opportunity to be founding partners in the film. With a few more partners, we'll be on our way given our reasonable production budget likely to be only in the neighborhood of $1-2 million. After initial partners/investors we're working with, we're expecting that we'll do a crowdfunding campaign -- stay tuned. Generally, one raises 20-30% of the necessary funds to get all the details nailed down in terms of who'll be in the film, detailed script and more. At that point, it becomes crystal clear to the financial backers that the train has left the station and they will make a decision whether to go forward or not.

The placeholder title for the film is The Big Heist. Why the name? I've spoken to why I believe the status quo healthcare system is the single biggest immediate threat to the country. In a nutshell, the status quo healthcare system is stealing our kids' future, stealing doctors/nurses' soul and professional potential, stealing the quality of life for people and peace-of-mind of their loved ones at the end-of-life, stealing household income and retirement savings, stealing the infrastructure of our communities including bridges, water quality and roads. This, despite the fact that we're spending tremendous sums yet the status quo health benefits are horrible

Fortunately, it's not all doom and gloom, the film-makers have made some of the iconic films (e.g., Bowling for Columbine) and TV shows of our time such as The Daily Show and Morgan Spurlock's 30 Days. The film won't be a diatribe or depressing. Nor will it be geared towards healthcare wonks (though we think they'll enjoy it as well). Rather, we assembled a team who knows how to make a smart, funny, entertaining, enraging, empowering and activating film necessary to activate the important communities and leaders at the grassroots level from the following spheres (listed alphabetically):

  • Business coalitions

  • Citizens and clinicians (as individuals) 

  • Employers

  • Faith-based organizations

  • Individual citizens and clinicians

  • Medical societies (state/specialty/various professional segments)

  • Local government officials

  • Non-profit organizations focused on health & social services

  • PTAs

  • Provider organizations that are forward-looking

  • Responsible government groups/foundations  

  • Social justice groups

  • Union leaders

In order to activate these sorts of individuals and organizations, we need to do what we haven't seen past healthcare films accomplish. That is, approach the film with a clear systems-level understanding of the healthcare system including understanding the absurd, outrageous and standard-operating-procedure activities inside of healthcare that are out of sight or taken for granted. As outlined above, those wasteful practices aren't without major consequence for nearly every citizen. 

Shining a light on the proven fixes to healthcare's under-performance

The great news is we also have clarity on the systems-level fix to today's problems. These aren't random anecdotes that have no evidence of scalability to the broader health ecosystem. Rather, they have proven themselves with strong evidence across a wide variety of settings with some of the most challenging patient populations. Of critical importance is that these organizations reinventing the health ecosystem recognize the importance of the Quadruple Aim. Unfortunately, much of what gets called "innovation" is making lives for clinicians worse, not better. These approaches simply aren't sustainable if more than half of doctors are burnt out (and it's not much better with nurses).

The Health Rosetta is the blueprint for what wise healthcare purchasers should follow to maximize the benefit to their constituents. The Health Rosetta Principles provide the guiding principles for how winning organizations across the entire health ecosystem will approach the overhauled health ecosystem and deliver the components of the Health Rosetta. Complementing the team working on the film is the virtual team that has built out the Health Rosetta. Some contributors to the latter subjects are household names such as Bill Gates while others are well-known industry figures such as Dr. Eric Topol, Susannah Fox, Jonathan Bush, and Esther Dyson. Others are not broadly known figures yet are doing extraordinary work in their fields. They include people such as Dr. Tom Delbanco, John Wilbanks, Lygeia Ricciardi, John Grohol, Jan Oldenburg, Shannon Brownlee, Dr. Bryan Vartabedian, Dr. Clay Johnston, Dr. Rushika Fernandopulle and many others whose thinking will shape the industry for years to come. Of course, my collaborator on the 95 Theses, Leonard Kish, has been pivotal to making this happen.

Several months ago, I shared my thoughts on why I thought a film was necessary. I literally knew nothing about films or anybody involved with them. I thought the likely outcome was I'd get "crickets" in response but fortunately it didn't turn out that way. What I outlined in the earlier piece is largely all still applicable. I have come up the learning curve quite a bit since then. Read that post for more on how films have changed the world, why I saw a gap and the role I believe doc-entrepreneurs are playing in the reinvention of healthcare.

One of healthcare's enlightenment thinkers, Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, said the following about the opportunity to drive changes to what may seem like an insurmountable obstacle:

There comes a point in a democracy when the public’s had enough and they stand up and they get upset. And, you know, the baby boomers shifted every public system they’ve ever touched. They shifted schools, colleges and universities. They changed the institution of marriage, of child rearing, of employment. I think that they’re probably going to change the institution of aging, medical care and dying, ultimately. It would not take very much change in taste and preference to collapse the system.

The only quibble I might have with Dr. Brenner is to avoid underestimating the largest generation in history -- the millennials. From what I have seen, millennials are doing as much or more to drive changes cleaning the mess their parents have handed them. The reality is it will take Boomers, X’ers and Millennials working together to help healthcare realize its full potential.

If you have time/desire to volunteer your time as we are, contact me via LinkedIn

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