Our Point of View
February 15, 2007
For the Record: What people are really saying about KP HealthConnect™
"When a patient shows up for care in the emergency room in a hospital without an electronic medical record, basic patient information is almost always not available. Even in traditional non-emergency exam rooms, paper charts are normally not available more than 30 percent of the time.
By contrast, KP HealthConnect™ is ensuring that the organization's members'
records are available more than 99 percent of the time. This is a huge
improvement. Overall, KP HealthConnect™ is a challenging project that
is setting a standard that the rest of the world can learn from. It's
the right effort at the right time and the right people are doing it."
- George C. Halvorson, Chairman and CEO, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.
A February 15th story in the Los Angeles Times speculates that the deployment of Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect™ is not going well. In fact, experts both inside and outside of Kaiser Permanente, believe it is setting the 'gold standard" for electronic health record (EHR) deployments worldwide.
Kaiser Permanente has been called a 'pioneer" by the U.S. government and is regularly sought out as an advisor to international governments (including Great Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia) struggling with the challenges of planning and implementing a large-scale EHR projects. But perhaps most importantly, day after day, the availability of electronic tools that support our care and service is winning the praise of our members, physicians, clinicians and staff.
Here is what national health care policy and technology leaders, as well as Kaiser Permanente caregivers and members, are saying about KP HealthConnect™:
"Improving health information technology may not be sufficient to solve health care's enormous problems in quality, safety, access, and cost, but it is without doubt necessary. For complex historical reasons, health care remains decades behind other industries in modernizing its approaches to the management of knowledge, communication, and decision support. At last, the industry is waking up, and the pioneering efforts of Kaiser Permanente will contribute immensely to our understanding of what is possible through technology to help us integrate care across boundaries, create new and more balanced relationships with patients, and offer clinicians the best advice from complex science exactly when and where they need it. As with any technical innovations, there will be growing pains and new lessons to learn, but the benefits of modernization will be well worth the journey."
--Don Berwick, Institute for Healthcare Improvement
"I am very pleased with the comprehensive digital systems that Kaiser Permanente has put into place to serve my health care needs. Yesterday morning I went in for a routine lab work-up to monitor my cholesterol. By lunchtime that same day your system forwarded the lab results to me. WOW! This is well done! I am impressed. Your system is so much better than the piecemeal, inefficient methods being used by other health care providers. My wife and I thank you for helping to serve me!"
--Richard Starck, Kaiser Permanente Member, Mid-Atlantic Region
"We met with Kaiser when they were deciding on Epic. From the beginning I've been impressed with how well planned this gigantic effort is. They have carefully balanced the needs and perceptions of all eight of their regions. An EHR gives you an opportunity to standardize so patients can receive the same care wherever they hit the system. Kaiser Permanente's vision of having a single build with careful ways of including local flexibility is a well-thought out, well-executed approach to balancing standardization with flexibility."
--James Walker, MD FACP, Geisinger Health System chief medical information officer and director of its EHR Safety Institute
"I want you to know that, again, you all are pioneers. Every small step you're taking is probably the first time someone has thought through with a level of rigor and diligence whatever you're thinking through. I don't want to lay the burden of public policy at your feet but people will follow you. They will look at what you're doing and say, 'Well, this is what KP did and maybe this is what we should do,' or they might say, 'This is what KP did and that's the last thing we're going to do.' But whatever it is, be aware that your daily work, in a way far more than mine, is being a pioneer to make this happen."
--David Brailer, MD, PhD, Former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
"It (KP HealthConnect™) has made my care better and made my life better. It is much better than what I experienced at the VA (Veterans' Administration) where I did part of my residency. The VA's computer system had a lot of computer-centric rules and a lot of unidentified dead-ends. So if you put in an order the way you thought it should go in there and nothing would happen because you put it in wrong. It was very frustrating. KP HealthConnect™ is worked out so that a lot of the repetitive jobs that you do can be situated, with a little bit of set-up, in a way that will make you do it very efficiently."
--Chris Shaw, MD, Northwest Permanente Medical Group
"When we first began our partnership with Kaiser, many in the industry thought the size of the project was so great that it would be virtually impossible for any vendor to be successful. But we and Kaiser both knew that we could do it — and we have! We're very proud of the huge accomplishments that have been made."
--Judy Faulkner, CEO, Epic Systems Corp.
"KP HealthConnect™ is far more advanced and has much more functionality especially in the realm of population management and really being able to capture all of the different emphasis that we are trying to capture in the visit. I also think the potential that it has even into the future is far greater than our old system had."
--Sherri Epperson, RN, Nurse Manager, Kaiser Permanente Colorado
"Before the electronic medical record, my days were much longer because I couldn't find the information that I needed to do the work on my patients and do it competently and do it safely for my patients. There was always ambiguity for medical records that weren't present or incomplete. Now going to KP HealthConnect™, my days are a little shorter. I believe I am working more, or it feels like I am working more because I am actually touching more patients than I did in the previous system. It's more gratifying because I now have the ability to take care of all my patients."
--Todd Kuwaye, MD, Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii region
"I am ICU Director and Infectious Diseases Chief at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park. I have both hospital and office-based practices and have been practicing with Southern California Permanente Medical Group for 24 years.
"KP HealthConnect™ has enabled me to practice two subspecialties in a more informed and efficient manner.
"In the ICU I can monitor these complex patients from any location in the hospital or from home. All the information is available in one place, which makes decision making easier. Consequently, documentation becomes far more comprehensive and accurate. Medication, lab test and radiological procedure orders are placed much more accurately and quickly than they were in the paper-fax based paradigm. Quality of care is enhanced.
"For the Infectious Diseases Service we also can monitor all of our patients from a single location, and anticipate and act on issues before we are present physically. Since we have access to all microbiology results, we can implement changes in therapy in a much more timely fashion. We don't have to be present physically to optimize therapy. Verbal orders, with their inherent risk for error, are thereby eliminated.
"KP HealthConnect™ saves time, and improves quality of care. As far as outages I have seen one 15-minute outage in the past four months which had no impact on patient care in the Baldwin Park Critical Care Unit. There is no way I could go back to the old system. I wish I could have access from my automobile."
-- Bruce E. Corigliano, MD, physician director, Critical Care Unit, director, Infectious Diseases Service, chair, Infection Control Committee, Southern California Permanente Medical Group
"The depiction of the KP HealthConnect™ Project in the recent story in The Los Angeles does not reflect my experience on the HealthConnect Project. During my experience, the project has been very well organized, and the professionals conducting the project have been very technical and competent. Furthermore, the providers who I have worked with have understood the importance of implementing the electronic medical record, and the advantages to the members of doing so."
--John Gullixson, Learning Specialist, Online Suite, KP HealthConnect™, Northern California
"The deployment of KP HealthConnect™ has gone remarkably smoothly given our size and the number of members we serve. The deployment has progressed rapidly, on schedule, and is well supported by our physicians and staff. As a regional leader with oversight in our Medical Group for Operations and Quality, I am impressed with how our Staff and Physicians are quickly migrating to this powerful new tool to better manage our members' health. The proof will be in the pudding, so to speak. Electronic access to vital health information is rapidly transforming our ability to help our members to be the healthiest people in the country, much less in Southern California. We are proud of the work they are doing, and of the performance resulting at least in part from KP HealthConnect™. Ask any doctor or staff member if they would go back to a paper record, they will tell you a resounding "NO."
-- Bob Blair, executive assistant, Regional SCPMG Operations/Quality
Do you have your own story to tell? Share your experiences with KP HealthConnect™ by emailing KPHealthConnectCommunications@kp.org