Kaiser Permanente is the most significant nongovernmental example of a fully integrated healthcare delivery system in the United States. It has more than 8.7 million members, 421 medical office buildings, 32 medical centers, 160,000 employees and 14,000 practicing doctors across nine states, including the District of Columbia.
The Kaiser Permanente-owned medical centers in California offer one-stop shopping for patients who want to avail services such as outpatient and inpatient management, pharmacy, radiology, surgery, laboratory, health education centers and other health procedures.
Kaiser Permanente is the only health plan located in California that has appeared for 11 consecutive years on the annual list of best health plans in the Pacific Region by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Many economists and medical experts see Kaiser Permanente as a leader in quality healthcare.
Kaiser Permanente is a leader in information technology. It has been using computers to deliver healthcare innovations for decades. Since 2003, it has fully integrated its systems, giving its members access to its many online features. It has implemented HealthConnect, a secure integrated electronic data system that aims to link all aspects of care experience nationwide.
HealthConnect helps them in decision-making by providing them with practice guidelines, alerts and recommended medications. It also provides them with research information and measurement, including feedback from other practitioners and teams. HealthConnect gives members and patients online access to their medical records, test results, appointments, prescription refills and health education. They can email their physician with the system.
Ambulatory care facilities of Kaiser Permanente have complemented the implementation of HealthConnect. Since July 2008, almost half of Kaiser Permanente hospitals have been fully electronic. Kaiser Permanente physicians have been using computers in their examination offices, and more than 30 percent of its members have requested passwords to communicate with their doctors to access their medical records online.
Since most healthcare providers are new on the system, Kaiser Permanente learned the importance of backfilling for them to implement information technology. However, when healthcare providers learned the system, they found that they were equally productive while delivering a better quality of care to their patients. Most patients experienced better satisfaction due to Kaiser Permanente’s HealthConnect online features. Physician offices had a drop in the number of visits and phone calls. The statistics of redundant testing and imaging were observed, and tests are no longer lost once they are entered into the HealthConnect system. Overall, improved patient health outcomes were observed with Kaiser Permanente’s model of healthcare information system integration.