You can successfully integrate technology into patient care, but it isn't easy. Just ask Kaiser Permanente Northern California (KPNC) and its 3.4 million members. Robert M. Pearl of the Permanente Medical Group provides a case study of KPNC's experience with Internet, mobile, and video technologies and identifies the two largest barriers to their use: the lack of reimbursements under the fee-for-service system and the financial and other resources needed to truly integrate these technologies into existing models of care. The health system has been at the forefront of electronic medical record adoption, as well as the use of subsequent technological tools that integrate with these data, and has seen continuous progress with a more than doubling of virtual patient "visits" in five years from 4.1 million to 10.5 million virtual visits annually. The author suggests that the ultimately positive experience at KPNC will become more common as the wider US health system catches up with these technologies and incentivizes their use through payment models such as ACOs and federal requirements that push providers to approach patient care as "pay for value" versus "pay for volume."
Texts and apps can also help you manage your diabetes. Shantanu Nundy of Evolent Health and coauthors analyzed how the widely used, familiar technology of mobile phones (mHealth) could help patients better manage their chronic conditions. Examining a group of seventy-four adults enrolled in an automated text messagingbased diabetes care program, they found better control of HbA1c glucose levels, higher patient satisfaction, and an overall net cost savings of 8.8 percent over the course of the six-month program. They also observed an overall decrease in costs for both the treatment and control groups, suggesting
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