Press Releases: Colorado
June 26, 2007
Kaiser Permanente Connects Teens Online with Their Doctors
A Colorado first, now teens can email their doctor and access their health record online; a web network that parents can trust
DENVER – More and more people are using the Internet to find health information and many are clamoring for the ability to connect with their physicians by email. Yet, the medical industry is slow to meet this demand according to the latest Harris Interactive poll. Now, Kaiser Permanente Colorado (KP CO) has extended its patient-physician email system and online medical record to a population ready to be wired to do their "health homework" online — teens.
"If there's a population hungry for patient-physician email and online access to their personal health record, it's our web savvy teens — nearly 90 percent are Internet users already and more than 55 percent are active on social networking sites," said Mark Groshek, MD, a Kaiser Permanente pediatrician and physician lead for the online health record project called "Your Health Record" on kp.org. "Creating a trusted, secure site for teens to connect with their doctor and their personal health information is critical to delivering safe, quality care. And, with so many questionable Web sites and social networks available online, it is that much more important that as health care providers we offer teens trusted, secure health information on the Web that the entire family can use with confidence."
Through Your Health Record on kp.org, adult and teen members will be able to e-mail their physician's office and get a response within one business day. They also will have 24/7 access to portions of their personal medical record.
In addition to teen access, KP CO has also expanded the online features to include:
- Act for a Family Member – parents can now access to their children's medical records online and email their children's and teen's doctors; adults can do the same for other adult loved ones.
- Medication lists
- Ability to cancel an appointment
The online services put trusted, secure and convenient health information right at a family's fingertips, any time of day. Using this unique Kaiser Permanente system, a teen patient can view a strep test result online and talk to her doctor by email about the result when she gets home from school, all from the convenience of the computer. The teen's parent can also email her child's doctor. "These online features are all about empowering our patients to be engaged and involved in their health, when they have time and want the information," noted Groshek.
To access these tools, KP members first must establish a secure log-in at kp.org. This ensures that only the patient has access to his or her personal health information. In addition, parents/legal guardians can request access to their teen's medical record by filling out a form provided by the health care team. Once the form is processed (it requires the teen's signature), parents/legal guardians are granted access to the allergy portion of the teen's medical record and the teen's e-mail exchanges. The limited parental access to the teen's online medical record complies with federal and state confidentiality laws.
"Many physicians and health care organizations have been reluctant or even fearful to engage in email with their patients," said Groshek. "Kaiser Permanente Colorado has taken a different approach. Not only do we support patient-physician email and online access to medical records, but we were willing to tackle the difficult legal issues surrounding confidentially to expand these tools to our teens. This says a lot about how much we believe in putting electronic medical records directly into the hands of the people that deserve them the most — the patients."
A commitment to improve patient safety and quality pushed Kaiser Permanente Colorado to eliminate paper charting more than 10 years ago. A system upgrade last year paved the way for Your Health Record on kp.org. Kaiser Permanente's personal health manager online is more powerful than a standalone personal health record because it is tied directly to KP HealthConnect, the electronic health record. The organization has budgeted $3 billion over 10 years to create electronic medical records for all of its more than 8.7 million members. This online transition puts Kaiser Permanente at the forefront of the health care industry's effort to meet the federal government's challenge to make electronic medical records the standard in the next decade.
Your Health Record on kp.org is available only to Kaiser Permanente members who see one of our 800 on-staff physicians in the Denver/Boulder area.
About Kaiser Permanente Colorado
The Colorado Permanente Medical Group has an exclusive contract with Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado to form Kaiser Permanente Colorado, the state's largest private, non-profit health care provider in the state. CPMG is Colorado's largest medical group practice within a health care organization, and employs 800 regular status physicians representing all medical specialties and major sub-specialties. More than 483,000 members in the Denver/Boulder and Colorado Springs areas have access to Kaiser Permanente care through an expanded suite of health care products. Kaiser Permanente physicians and care teams focus on prevention as well as managing disease, all in an effort to help patients live well and thrive. Visit us online at kp.org or get the latest in health news at our News Center.