Kaiser Permanente

Innovative Organizations - 2021

Pioneers in EHRs.

In 2004, Kaiser Permanente was one of the first major health care systems in the United States to begin the implementation of electronic health records (EHR) for its members. The system, KP HealthConnect was successfully implemented from 2004 to 2010 and:

  • Includes both ambulatory and inpatient systems
  • Integrates billing, scheduling, and registration
  • Interfaces with pre-existing applications including pharmacy, laboratory, and imaging systems
  • Offers members a personal health record through kp.org

Today, KP HealthConnect is one of the largest civilian EHR systems in the US.

KP HealthConnect has been transformed in multiple ways since its initial go-live in 2005. Used as a digital health tool, KP HealthConnect is now available on mobile devices for physicians and provides health care providers with actionable data.

KP HealthConnect has added value to the business and has improved the patient experience by providing data and insights to develop better approaches to care and engagement.

In May 2019, Kaiser Permanente announced Thrive Local, a program that includes social services data in KP HealthConnect. This information will help Kaiser Permanente health providers connect patients to community services to address social needs that support total health. This resource will be available to all members by 2022.

Telehealth at Kaiser Permanente

Telehealth options have been available to members in various forms since the late 1990s as a seamless part of our clinicians’ care delivery, as opposed to add-on services.

  • Kaiser Permanente’s fully integrated telehealth capabilities enhance the patient experience, improve outcomes, and expand access to routine and life-saving care.
  • Our members have access to the same level of care and same experience however and whenever they choose to engage with Kaiser Permanente.
  • Kaiser Permanente’s wide range of telehealth services includes in-patient and ambulatory capabilities, and both synchronous (e.g., video and phone visits) as well as asynchronous (e.g., emails to physician or care team) engagements.
  • Kaiser Permanente’s telehealth capabilities currently include video visits — in-patient and ambulatory, telephone visits, E-visits, secure email exchanges between clinicians and members, chat with a clinician, online physical therapy, remote patient monitoring, and TeleCritical Care in ICU settings. We regularly expand our telehealth programs and add new capabilities.

All patient care interactions, including telehealth services, are seamlessly integrated with Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health record to create a better patient experience and help assure greater quality and safety during and after the visit.

  • Kaiser Permanente clinicians using telehealth have immediate and secure access to the member’s health information and can update the record throughout the visits.
  • This enables a consistent, superior patient experience and highly coordinated care during and after the visit.

Telehealth increases safety, convenience, and savings for members by avoiding unnecessary in-person visits, travel, parking, and time away from work. Telehealth services also empower patients to prioritize their health and help prevent delays in getting care and improve access for members in remote areas or those who can’t leave home.

COVID-19 & National Telehealth

Kaiser Permanente has invested in telehealth for decades, and our proven infrastructure has rapidly scaled to meet rising demand. Our integrated telehealth capabilities make it easy for most members to receive high-quality care while staying safe at home and are an important part of our approach to care.

A 2020 survey showed that most members who used telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic said it solved their health concerns:

  • 58% of members who used a video visit
  • 62% of members who used email
  • 63% of members who used an E-visit
  • 65% of member who used a phone visit

We anticipate that telehealth usage will remain high as members who may have first tried telehealth during the pandemic now embrace a blend of telehealth and in-person care based on their needs.

2020 Telehealth By-the-Numbers

  • In 2020, Kaiser Permanente provided approximately 31 million scheduled phone and video visits and more than 33 million in-person ambulatory care visits.
  • In 2019, video and phone visits accounted for approximately 15% of ambulatory care visits. During the pandemic, video and phone visits increased to approximately 80% of ambulatory care visits.
  • Currently (May 2021), 37% of Kaiser Permanente’s ambulatory care visits are conducted by scheduled video or phone call.
  • In addition, Kaiser Permanente conducted nearly 4.6 million E-visits, and nearly 59.8 million secure email encounters in 2020.
  • In 2020, Kaiser Permanente conducted 28x more video visits than in all of 2019 as members embraced virtual options for safety, quality, and convenience.
  • Kaiser Permanente continues to conduct an average of 40,000 video visits per weekday.
  • In 2019, Kaiser Permanente had a monthly average of approximately 17,000 members actively using Remote Patient Monitoring to manage their chronic conditions. In 2020, that number jumped almost 90% to an average of around 33,000 members per month.

Health Information Exchange

Beginning in April 2021, as part of the Cares Act, the government requires that healthcare providers give patients access without charge to all the health information in their electronic medical records.

Kaiser Permanente has long been a leader and advocate for both the national standards for electronic medical records as well as sharing medical data between authorized parties. Making medical records easy to share benefits consumers, providers, researchers, and the communities we serve.

In 2020, KP has shared data with other providers over 185 million times — and over 160 million of those data exchanges are with unaffiliated providers outside Kaiser Permanente.

When our members and communities get better outcomes, communities can be healthier. Sharing health records supports our mission—quality, affordable care. It contains costs by helping avoid duplicate tests or procedures. EMR sharing also helps improve population health and clinical research.

But the standards for EMR data sharing did not come together easily. KP has advocated for years to make sure EMRs can reach their potential. Kaiser Permanente also helped develop the EMR data standards that are now required by law for interoperability. Our mantra about health data has been — “all the data, on all the patients, all the time.”

About Thrive Local

In 2019, Kaiser Permanente launched Thrive Local – the most comprehensive, far-reaching social health network of its kind – designed to help improve the health of individual patients and impact social determinants of health on a grand scale.

To implement Thrive Local, Kaiser Permanente is partnering with Unite Us, which develops software to connect health care and social services providers to address pressing social needs including housing, food, safety, utilities, and more for millions of people across the United States. To address such social needs, Thrive Local’s social services directory will be updated continuously, providing access to a network of nonprofit public and private resources.

In addition to being integrated into Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health record system to comprehensively serve members, Thrive Local’s network of resources will also be made available to community-based organizations to reach efficiently the broadest possible group of those in need.

Kaiser Permanente and LASH

In 2020, Kaiser Permanente partnered with the State of California and the County of Los Angeles to the Los Angeles Surge Hospital (LASH), a temporary facility in Los Angeles that expanded access to additional beds and expanded ICU capacity for patients who contract COVID-19.

Kaiser Permanente, one of California’s largest not-for-profit health care systems, provided expertise in establishing LASH and oversaw management at the facility. Kaiser Permanente donated use of its proprietary medical record system, KP HealthConnect to manage patient records.

Kaiser Permanente and COVID Vaccine
KP formed partnerships with public agencies and other health providers, setting up mass vaccination sites in several states. As part of these partnerships, KP’s EHR system, KP HealthConnect was connected to other agency databases to ensure that patient information was shared between organizations.

KP’s Digital Timeline

1996 – kp.org Member Site Launched
1999 – Accessible for Visually Disabled Users
1999 – Online Doctor Search by Region
2001 – Integration of Plan and Marketing Content with Transactions
2003 – Prescription Refills
2005 – My Health Manager
2006 – Driving Directions to Facilities
2006 – Lab Results
2007 – Email my Doctor
2008 – Simplified Registration
2009 – Patient Filled Questionnaires
2010 – Digital Health Content
2011 – Schedule Appointments
2012 – Mobile App Launched
2013 – Spanish Language Medical Record
2013 – Personal Action Plan
2013 – View/Pay Medical Bill
2015 – Video Visits
2015 – e-Visits
2016 – Express Checking
2017 – Medical Bill Pay on Mobile App
2019 – Get Care experience on kp.org and Mobile
2020 – Schedule COVID19 test
2020 – Schedule COVID19 vaccination

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