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Kaiser Permanente CEO Calls for 'Connected' Health Care
Date:12/8/2008

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente Chairman and Chief Executive Officer George Halvorson delivered an opening keynote address today at the World Healthcare Innovation and Technology conference in Washington, D.C. In "Changing the Shape of Healthcare: Groundbreaking Innovations and their Impact on Healthcare Delivery," Mr. Halvorson set forth a vision for a health care system where data and connectivity enable patient-centered care. This new model will make it easy for caregivers to deliver the best, evidence-based care to every individual, keep people healthy, and best manage serious illnesses and chronic conditions.

"Health care has not been willing to use technology, and as a result the current system does not provide critical linkages between physicians, hospitals, doctors and patients, or between caregivers and the scientific community," said Halvorson. "Goal number one of health care reform should be to have a health care infrastructure that contains all of the data about all of the patients, all of the time. That functionality is needed to fuel medical advances. Fully accountable data about care can transform the way that it is delivered and improve not only the health of individuals, but of entire populations."

A health care system that builds a continuous loop of information around the patient should include electronic health data available to all physicians treating a patient, as well as to the individual patient. This will speed diagnosis and delivery of care. Information retrieval that took days, will take minutes. Additional information about the most current science, treatment protocols, and prevention should be pushed to everyone involved in a patient's care, providing proven, actionable steps to improve health. In addition to enhancing the quality of health care, implementing electronic medical records and other computerized tools will improve efficiency and are estimated to eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars of waste from the U.S. health care system.

Kaiser Permanente's current $4 billion investment in technology has provided a platform for a 21st century care delivery system, and is beginning to provide the data needed to make a dramatic impact on health:

-- In one pilot study, the organization was able to reduce coronary artery disease deaths by 76 percent. Kaiser Permanente is now testing the same technologies and processes to tackle other chronic conditions.

-- Kaiser Permanente is building one of the world's largest DNA databases to advance clinical research, and sees the opportunity to one day deliver a new level of information to doctors at the point of care.

-- The organization designed the Archimedes Model (http://archimedesmodel.com/), a full-scale simulation model of human physiology, diseases, behaviors, interventions, and health care systems that will predict risk factors and treatment benefits. Doctors will soon be able to use this model to develop customized treatment plans for their patients.

"The future," Mr. Halvorson concluded, "is now." Find out more at http://www.kp.org/future.

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is America's leading integrated health plan. Founded in 1945, the program is headquartered in Oakland, Calif. Kaiser Permanente serves 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Today it encompasses Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the Permanente Medical Groups. Nationwide, Kaiser Permanente includes approximately 164,000 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and 14,000 physicians representing all specialties. The organization's Labor Management Partnership is the largest such health care partnership in the United States. It governs how more than 130,000 workers, managers, physicians and dentists work together to make Kaiser Permanente the best place to receive care, and the best place to work. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit the Kaiser Permanente News Center at: http://xnet.kp.org/newscenter.

                      http://www.kaiserpermanente.org

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