|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
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,
Address: Kaiser Permanente, One Kaiser Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612; (510) 271-2377, www.kaiserpermanente.org.