What Should Health Care Look Like in the Future?
We need data, connectivity, accessibility, and absolute confidentiality.
We need real time data to support patient care.
We need systems that provide medical science as well as medical records.
We need systems that link patients to doctors, doctors to doctors, doctors to nurses and care team members, laboratories to databases, imaging centers to databases. We also need monitoring equipment to computer oversight systems that provide a new safety net and support structure for care.
Patients should be able to do e-scheduling, e-visits, e-referrals, e-tests results, and electronic secure messaging with their caregivers.
The system should be so electronic that the administrative overhead linked to paper sorting, filing, generating, and processing should be instantaneous and extremely accurate.
Paper medical records should be the rare exception rather than the rule.
Imaging results should go directly from the scanners to the physicians with no film or files to be lost in transit.
Patients in their own homes should be able to link up in telemedicine consults with their doctors and nurses—avoiding major transportation headaches and providing instant responses to in-home crises and potential problems.
Homes should have scales linked to caregivers for congestive heart failure crisis and motion monitors for patients with hip or stroke issues.
Safe reliable in-home care should be the expectation of most patients.
It’s been a long time since most customers have had to set foot physically in a bank to do all banking transactions. Dozens of care-related functions should be able to follow similar pathways.
The challenge is to have a vision of what ultimate connectivity looks like and then build it.
At Kaiser Permanente, we now produce 30,000 lab reports for patients electronically every day. More than 20,000 patients link up electronically with their doctor. Many more set up office visit appointments on the computer, digital X-rays, digital prescribing, and electronic care counseling are all happening daily.
It’s a work in progress, but we’re getting there:
- Our electronic health records are available, 24/7, in every medical office and every hospital.
- Our members can access their care from home, online, anytime.
- We’re already seeing advances in the way we prevent manageable diseases from becoming life-threatening crises. In one pilot study, we were able to reduce coronary artery disease deaths by 76 percent. Now we are testing the same technologies and processes to tackle other chronic conditions.
- We are building one of the world’s largest DNA databases to advance clinical research, but we also see the opportunity to one day deliver a new level of information to doctors at the point of care.
- We have designed the Archimedes Model, a full-scale simulation model of human physiology, diseases, behaviors, interventions, and health care systems. Soon, our doctors will be able to use this model to develop customized treatment plans for their patients.
- We have been recognized for proving that e-connectivity between and among patients and their caregivers results in better outcomes.
And, we know this is all just the beginning.