73 Cents

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73 Cents

United States
Organization type: 
for profit
< $1,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

On April 17th 2009, I was told we must pay 73 per page and wait 21 days to see my husband’s medical record. I began a painting to promote patient centered care and timely access the electronic medical record. These paintings garnered worldwide attention in social media and traditional news.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

I am creating greater awareness within the medical community, patient advocacy movement and the general public of the problems faced by patients in our current care model. Lack of communication between these groups is a large problem within this kind of advocacy. Through painting on walls and utilizing social media, I am building bridges between people of different professions, different social and economic levels and different geographic regions. In order to get better patient centered care we need better communication within and between systems and groups. Grass roots advocacy, such as this, can create a societal shift in thinking and feeling if promoted within ever-larger circles of influence.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

I am an artist. Confronted by the reality of how patients are being treated at many institutions throughout the US, I decided to open others eyes to the things I had seen. As I researched, I found the visual element missing within medicine. Where is the face on the “face-sheet?’ I began to paint large city murals and business jackets with paintings of patients. I focused much of imagery on the experience of our family through my late husband Fred’s battle with kidney cancer. I also spoke publically and utilized every tool of social media in order to spread the word about the need for change. I paint about very sacred things in very public settings. I paint the faces of the dying and the suffering in places where people do not expect to see them. You will see my work on the backs of jackets at conferences, in business offices and on deli walls. You cannot tell my work to shut up nor can you shut it away. My work, like death itself, is part of life. For hundreds of years we have painted upon the walls of our public spaces. Like a medieval artist who paints to inform, I seek to create new visuals in type of binary brushwork that will explain the significance governmental policy as it applies to medicine and help shift the paradigm toward patient centered care and open access to the electronic medical record.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

I have been painting about medicine for over a year. These paintings have been discussed within many social media circles as well as being reported on in the mainstream press. Public News coverage included NPR, Voice of America, BBC, CBS, CNN, AOL and the Washington Post. I have had the opportunity to speak nationally before the Medical Library Association, Cerner, and the National Partnership for Women and Families. I provided the patient perspective on Meaningful Use at the announcement of the rule at the Department of Health and Human Services on July 13th, 2010. The rule in its final form required patient access to the electronic medical record within 3 days upon request. This legislation alone will do a great deal in helping reform a medical system that currently has massive communication problems between facility and patient. This change was partially accomplished by painting on walls and utilizing social media. In March 2009, I was a high school graduate with no college degree who worked as a retail sales clerk a part-time and pre-school art teacher. I was the wife of a good man and the mother of two wonderful boys. In my spare time I would paint. After my husband became ill and died, I devoted my life to effecting change within the medical system using my art to create awareness. This is the beauty of art and social media- anyone and everyone can make a difference in this world.
About You
Medical Advocacy Mural Project
Section 1: You
First Name


Last Name



Medical Advocacy Mural Project

Section 2: Your Organization
Organization Name

Medical Advocacy Mural Project

Organization Phone


Organization Address
Organization Country

, DC, Washington

Your idea
Country and state your work focuses on

, DC, Washington

Do you have a patent for this idea?


I continue to paint publically. I either paint murals on public walls or will do plein air work on canvas. Both of theses types of public art allow me to speak with the public and promote patient advocacy in a one-to-one format.

I continue to paint jackets for brave people like Jen McCabe, with Contagion Health, whom wear them before audiences at medical and HIT conferences in order to promote the cause.

I write frequently on my Medical Advocacy Blog about the need for change in the system using occasional poetry and multiple pop-culture references in order to connect with the larger public who isn’t quite sure what HITECH stands for.

I speak publically at conferences and schools about the power of art advocacy and the many reasons why we need to adopt the concepts of participatory medicine and provide open and transparent access to the medical record.


My painting has been utilized by multiple organizations to depict the problems within the current Medical system. The paintings 73 Cents and Give Us Our Dammed Data cents have appeared in many blog posts. 73 Cents was the picture of the week in the BMJ in September 2009.

Recently, I had the pleasure of painting a jacket for Roni Zeiger with Google Health. He wore the jacket at the HHS Community Health Data Initiative Launch before Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and an audience of hundreds. At this point the event has had over 7,000 views on Youtube.

My blog is read internationally and has over 200 followers as well as 2,500 profile views. My writing is often posted on Twitter as well as picked up by other bloggers who re-post or create a new post adding their vision to my work. My work is joining theirs an amazing web of advocacy.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

As we go deeper into stage two and three of Meaningful Use, it is very important for advocates to continue to keep pressure the government and medical establishment for increased access to the HER/EMR and increased adoption of HIT. As we enter the stage of a fully functional HIE, we must encourage greater communication between HIT venders, medical facilities and patients. This has been done in banking; it is surely possible in medicine.

I will continue to make more contacts within the patient safety movement and try to better align our causes. We need to create a national and easily searchable database of patient advocate speakers. Every panel at every medical conference should include the patient voice and in order to do that, we will need better resources than we currently have so we can utilize all the wonderful speakers who are available.

I am writing a book about our family’s experiences so I to reach an even larger group of people and explain why we so desperately need to change our current model of medicine.

I will consult with more HIT groups and hospital systems and try to place paintings internally as well as paint the facilities themselves in a plein air format.

I will endeavor in everyway to create more visualization within medicine, be it, encouraging picture avatars as part of you EMR or promoting the incorporation of art within medical blogs. We are visual thinkers in a text-based system; this must change. We must open more avenues of communication and thereby heal the body and mind.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

The beauty of 73 Cents is that is a painting and a movement. The murals are permanent installations and my blog is part of a virtual eternity floating in the data cloud. If I were to die tomorrow this work would live on in minds and on walls. That being said, I hope to live to see a glorious outcome. I hope to have many tweets to many tweeps in my future. I do hope to get more funding for this work. I currently support my family and my work out of my personal savings. More financial support would be nice, but nothing will stop me on this path or stay my brush filled hand.

I am very thankful the consequential strangers in my life and their cognitive surplus. They help me and they spread the word. I am thankful that I have the presence of God in my life and he sustains me in my grief. I thankful for this competition form which allows me to clarify my goals. What would prevent me for reaching my goals? Nothing will stop me. As my friend Christine Kraft once said, I have become radicalized. I will not stop. I will not be silent; until patients are treated with appropriate dignity and respect throughout this nation and we all have the right to access our own medical record.

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?


What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?

, DC, Washington

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

If yes, provide organization name.
How long has this organization been operating?

1‐5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Approximately 150 words left (1200 characters).

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

Approximately 300 words left (2400 characters).

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

I once was a regular person. I had a hard life, but I could relax and enjoy a night at home with my husband and children. I could watch TV and sell toys to make a living. My world stopped when my husband was admitted into the hospital. I watched them accidently break his left hip at the point of metastasis because there was no communication of the extent of his cancer. I watched him cry and I could not help him because no one would tell me what was going on. I walked in silence to medical records and begged for record after we were in a hospital not of our choice for over three weeks. I was told we would have to wait 21 days and pay 73 cents per page. The next day the Doctor told us he was sending us home on a PCA pump. That is a coward’s way of saying we are sending you home to die.

The doctor left us and we cried an my husband turned me and said, “Go after them Regina. Try to get me care. At that moment, I stopped trying to be a “good” patient caregiver who never made waves and became an advocate for my husband. Weeks later when we realized nothing more could be done for Fred. I began designing the Medical Advocacy Mural Project so other families would not have to suffer as we did.

When that clerk in Medical Records told me it would be 73 Cents a page and a 21-day wait something inside me broke apart and from that destruction something new arose. I became a paintbrush warrior, an art advocate, a person who would stop at nothing to change an unjust system. Some people may wonder why I was so upset. It wasn’t the cost of 73 cents per page that filled me with outrage, although the hundreds of dollars we would have had to pay would have been a hardship. It was the wait. Fred only lived for 63 more days after my request. How dare they deny a dying man the right to see his own information? How dare they deny us the right to make a choice about the treatment plan? How could they treat us with so little respect at the worst moment in our life?

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

This project was inspired by the work of several artists. The title painting 73 Cents is inspired by the work Guernica by Pablo Picasso. A print of that piece hung in my home throughout my childhood. As a victim of child abuse I identified with the tortured figures in the piece. As and adult I learned its back-story, and found that the piece functioned as a warning of the atrocities of the Nazis prior to World War II. It has become a monument to the tragedy of war and an anti-war symbol. 73 Cents also references the work of Jacques-Louis David and his work The Death of Marat. This painting depicts an assassinated political figure, Jean-Paul Marat, in his bath. Stylistically, the mural invokes the spirit of the political paintings of Diego Rivera and depicts the emotional faces of Giotto’s frescoes.

The life and work of Leonardo da Vinci inspired the overall concept of addressing problems within medicine by creating public art. The idea that such an amazing man could balance within his life medical drawing, a love of science, product design and fine art, inspires me to believe we can create an integrated approach to medicine that addresses the health of body and mind with the tools of art and technology. A balanced approach to the science of medicine exists with a world of open communication and not within a vacuum.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Friend or family member

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

50 words or fewer