COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - (HealthTech Wire / News) - KP is among the largest private medical groups in the world. It serves nine million patients and has 180,000 employees, almost all of them in care delivery. In an eHealth Week plenary session, Kaiser Permanente's chief executive officer George Halvorson gave a summary of what KP has invested into and gained from fully digitizing its care delivery network.
- Fully integrated care network that allows designing evidence-based care plans and sets standards in terms of transparency and patient involvement
- Presentation of summary what KP has invested into and gained from fully digitizing its care delivery network
- “You cannot make healthcare better in many areas without data.”
“We have spent around four billion US dollars on building up our fully integrated electronic care record with all its care plans”, said Halvorson. This sounds like a huge sum, but it more than pays off. “We estimate that this initial investment now saves us around five billion US dollars per year.”
Optimizing care pathways based on real-world data
KP has built up an integrated IT infrastructure among its hospitals, pharmacies, imaging centers, and laboratories and has eliminated paper more or less completely. But it is not the infrastructure per se that creates value. What makes the difference is the way KP uses its infrastructure to continuously optimize care pathways based on real-world data.
Halvorson took the case of sepsis patients as an example: KP uses its database to identify sepsis patients and to measure how long it takes for diagnosis, prescription of antibiotics, etc. By doing so, weak points in sepsis care were identified, and a “sepsis response team” came up with a digitally assisted care plan that uses various IT tools to accelerate diagnosis and treatment in case of sepsis.
This had a tremendous effect: “The measures we took cut the sepsis death rate by more than half. If every hospital in the US would did this, it would save 72,000 lives and eight million very expensive hospital days.”
A patient portal for the patient involvement
In terms of patient involvement, KP already created a patient portal five years ago. Patients can access their medical records, make appointments electronically, e-mail doctors, and order prescription refills. “They really love it”, said Halvorson. In selected specialties like, for example, dermatology, a considerable share of patient visits is already done via video link. “This will certainly increase in the future.”
All in all, Halvorson is convinced that improving quality by using ICT tools works and can be strongly recommended. The key, he said, was having data and being able to interpret it. “You cannot make healthcare better in many areas without data.”
Source: HealthTech Wire