5 Points Conference: An Experiment Gone Successfully Wrong

The five words I use to describe the inaugural 5 Points of Health CareTM Conference Series include intriguing, terrifying, awkward, enlightening, and hopeful.

In 2018, Cambia Grove set out to map the 5 Points of Health Care: payers, providers, purchasers, patients and policymakers. We partnered with the Washington Healthcare Authority, UW CoMotion Labs and the Washington Health Alliance to design an event that answered two questions:

How is the health care system designed to work? and
How does the health care system actually work?

“A Gut Check to Understand”

This was a new concept and we were thrilled to welcome over 340 attendees throughout the series from all across the health care spectrum—from entrepreneurs, to life-long traditional health care employees. 

When the series began, I wrote in a blog post that “We hope that for everyone, from fresh faces to seasoned professionals, it will also serve as a gut check to understand where each vertical, each “point,” can contribute to health care transformation.”

Over the six events, here’s what we uncovered.

Mapping the Conversation

First, we started our conversations asking how the health care system is designed. Each of our 5 Points answered, “It isn’t.” Many chuckled when asked this question. Their second reaction was “If it was designed, it wouldn’t look the way it does.”

Second, we asked how the 5 Points work together. Our panelists made clear, “We really don’t.” There were conversations that highlighted how contractual relationships were created, or how patients should be at the center of the decision-making process. But in reality, the broader conversation showcased a fragmented system. The graphic below highlights these potential, but broken links.

Hannah Cheshier was hired to graphically record each of our conversations during the six-part event series. At our first event, which brought together a panel representing each of the five verticals, we asked Hanna to first map out the system by how each vertical connects to one another. After the event, she told me “I’m sorry, Maura. I tried to connect these verticals, but they just don’t connect.” We have preserved and have plans to display this map to highlight the current state of our health care system. View a full-size version of this map here.

Third, we asked what frustrations they have. After our first event, that brought together panelists from each of the verticals, our subsequent events took a deep dive into a specific vertical. All of the verticals answered, “We have many frustrations.” In each of these conversations, it was fascinating to hear what the verticals are faced with on the front line. After these events, we often heard entrepreneurs saying, “If only I had known this four years ago when I started my business.” The graphic recording below highlights these frustrations throughout the conversations.

Hannah Cheshier captured the rich conversations from each our five verticals. Her ability to highlight the details of these conversations further illustrates the lack of connection points made during our first event. As a side note, we had originally asked to create one full map. Because of the lack of connection points, we pivoted to create six separate maps. View a full size version of each map by clicking the following links: Provider, Payor, Purchaser, Patient and Policy Maker

Finally, we asked how startups and innovators can work with the 5 Points to solve some of our greatest challenges in health care. They answered, “We’re not sure yet.”  

What’s Next for 5 Points?

Overall, what did we learn?

We learned that the current state of our health care system is made up of incredibly talented, courageous people who are working in their silos to provide what they believe to be the best way forward in transforming our health care system. We also learned that there is an appetite to work together to improve the system. 

The team at the Cambia Grove is committed to continue our 5 Points Conference next year. We hope you will be part of the conversation as we seek to answer:

What do we want our health care system to look like? and
How do we work together to further transformation efforts in our communities?

A huge thank you to all of our panelists, our attendees and our partners—Washington Healthcare Authority, UW CoMotion and the Washington Health Alliance—for making this event a success. While our original experiment to map the system of health care didn’t quite work out as planned, the end result was more enlightening than what we ever could have imagined. Thank you!


To re-live the 5 Points Conference, visit the following links to view the event video or come by the Cambia Grove to see our graphic recordings. To read about the mini 5 Points Workshop that we held at Portland’s TechFestNW, check out this recap on the Cambia blog.

Video recordings:

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