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Customer Experience and Design

Finding a Real Patient-Centric View in Kaiser Permanente

In healthcare consulting, we discuss the patient-centric view frequently. We want our EMRs, our clinical data repositories, and business processes to be patient-centric and focused on a complete view from that vantage point.

On June 21st, I had the privilege of touring the new Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health located near Union Station in Washington, D.C. to view the incredible touch screen wall in the entrance of the Center for Total Health

See it here:

I was visiting this unique conference center to discuss the future of mobile technologies in addressing the healthcare consumer as part of a larger e-business team assembled by Kaiser IT. Kaiser has been a leader in mobile applications to serve their members. One of the benefits of this speaking engagement was a behind the scenes tour of their state of the art patient-centric integrated health clinic.

Our tour guide, Joan, took us into the clinic to see the well-designed, integrated approach taken to provide for patient needs. While the clinic wasn’t intended to be a hospital, it stopped just short of that goal, including overnight observation.

Imagine the ability for a patient to see their primary care physician, be escalated immediately to a specialist, get labs and radiology and even fill their prescriptions — all in one place. This patient-focused, one-stop integrated approach to a clinic has been built and is in use to influence the debate on Capitol Hill about overhauling the healthcare system. The difference with Kaiser is that their healthcare organization is both the insurer and the services provider, thus efficiencies gained by integrated services like this clinic help drive down costs and increase convenience for the patient. Their corporate focus has always been a fee for health as opposed to fee for services.

It doesn’t stop with the bricks and mortar delivery of this new integrated clinic. Kaiser has made large investments in communications technologies that allow patients to avoid trips to see a specialist, like a dermatologist, by emailing cell phone pictures of a skin mole.

George Halverson, Chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, notes, “we had 10 million email visits last year that in any other health system would have been real visits to the doctor.”

The effective use of health information technology is at the forefront of the battle to reduce costs for Kaiser and drive efficiencies across their network. Most impressive is the fact that Kaiser’s Center for Total Health puts a strong emphasis on improving the patient experience while promoting walking as a means of improving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

It was nice to see the pride that Joan had in her healthcare organization and their efforts to make the patient experience central to providing services. It was nice for me to see that Kaiser brings their IT vendors together to provide synergy and efficiencies in the same manner as their healthcare services to their patients. In this period of steeply rising healthcare costs where most providers earn more money with repeat patient visits and have little incentive to be more efficient, it is refreshing to see a large healthcare organization really demonstrate patient-centric care and address the real intent of accountable care.

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Martin Sizemore

Enterprise Architect with specialized skills in Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Consultant and a trusted advisor to Chief Executive Officers, COOs, CIOs and senior managers for global multi-national companies and healthcare organizations. Deep industry experience as a consultant in manufacturing, healthcare and financial services industries. Broad knowledge of IBM hardware and software offerings with numerous certifications and recognitions from IBM including On-Demand Computing and SOA Advisor. Experienced with Microsoft general software products and architecture, including Sharepoint and SQL Server. Deep technical skills in system integration, system and software selection, data architecture, data warehousing and infrastructure design including virtualization.

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