Magazine article Issues in Science and Technology

Health Care Innovation

Magazine article Issues in Science and Technology

Health Care Innovation

Article excerpt

In "Where Are the Health Care Entrepreneurs?" (Issues, Fall 2010), David M. Cutler makes a cogent case for health care innovation. He correctly cites the fee-for-service business model as a challenging one, in which care is fragmented, and incentives drive caregivers to maximize treatments. The fee-for-service model often fails to keep the patient at the center of care.

As Cutler points out, Kaiser Permanente uses an integrated, technology-enabled care model. The centerpiece of our innovation is Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect, the world's largest private electronic health record (EHR). KP HealthConnect connects 8.6 million people to their care teams and health information and enables the transformation of care delivery. Because Kaiser Permanente serves as the insurer and health care provider, important member information is available at every point of care, resulting in top-quality care and service delivery.

Cutler also highlights the need for preventive care, especially for chronic conditions. Our population care tools connect medical teams with organized information, resulting in health outcomes such as the 88% reduction in the risk of cardiac-related mortality within 90 days of a heart attack for our largest patient population.

Kaiser Permanente shares information within the organization to get these results, but it is far from "walled in." Rather, we have established a model that we are now extending beyond our walls, effectively doing as Cutler suggests: bringing providers together to enhance quality and lower costs. In a medical data exchange pilot program, we helped clinicians from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Kaiser Permanente obtain a more comprehensive view of patients' health using EHR information. Over many years, we have developed our Convergent Medical Terminology (CMT): a lexicon of clinician- and patient-friendly terminology, linked to U. …

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