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Home / News & IndustryManaged Care Insight and Analysis
Updated: Aug. 19, 2008
Kaiser Permanente Completes Implementation Of Outpatient EHR For All Members

All of Kaiser Permanente’s (KP) 8.7 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia are now covered by an outpatient electronic health record, according to the health plan.

KP HealthConnect is the world’s largest privately funded electronic health record, Kaiser said.

All of KP’s 13,000 physicians now have electronic access to their patients’ medical records in every one of their 421 medical offices/clinics, Kaiser said.

Deployment of KP HealthConnect began in April 2004 in Hawaii and concluded this month in Northern California — completing this effort in four years.

"Electronic medical records are a cornerstone tool for improving quality and safety in healthcare. Doctors should have all of the information about all of their patients all of the time. Only a computer and an electronic medical record can do that work," said George Halvorson, chairman and chief executive officer of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals. "That’s true during normal work hours and it’s even more true in off hours and times of crisis. During the 2007 wildfires in San Diego as our care facilities within the fire lines were closed, members were contacted and directed to other open facilities. When they arrived, care teams whom they may have never seen before had full access to their records via KP HealthConnect. We can now ensure continuity of care for our members in a time of crisis with this database."

The deployment of KP HealthConnect has improved patient safety, coordination of care, enhancing documentation, facilitating clinical decision making and adherence to evidence-based clinical guidelines and provider and operational efficiency.

After the implementation of KP HealthConnect in the outpatient setting, KP experienced an immediate and marked increase in the efficiency of outpatient care, due to 24/7 availability of members’ clinical information at every member contact, Kaiser said. Members began using secure messaging and increased use of telephone visits in lieu of in-person visits. Physicians reported that, in many cases, electronic health records enabled them to identify and resolve patients’ health issues in the first contact, Kaiser said.

One survey showed that, with the use of electronic health records, medication administration times and doses were more legible and correct – 85 percent; and clinicians believed the electronic medication administration system provided a safer and more reliable communication tool – 75 percent, Kaiser said.

"I see this milestone as the starting line. We have these tools, and now we need to learn how to use them to transform the delivery of healthcare, so it is no longer about how many appointments we make, but about how many problems we solve," said Dr. Jack Cochran, executive director, The Permanente Federation.

In addition to the outpatient medical record, 13 of KP’s 36 California hospitals are fully deployed, ensuring that 3.2 million members are guaranteed full access to their comprehensive health information, regardless of how and when they need medical care — whether in the exam room, online, or in the emergency room. KP’s aggressive implementation schedule will continue in 2008, with 14 additional hospitals slated to roll out KP HealthConnect’s inpatient capabilities by the end of the year, Kaiser said.

Address: Kaiser Permanente, One Kaiser Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612; (510) 271-2377,

  This article was taken from:
The Executive Report on Physician Organizations

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