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Kaiser Permanente and Veterans Affairs Preview Electronic Health Record Interoperability to Enable Better Health Care
Date:9/23/2008

Demonstrations with Public and Private Sector Health Providers Showcase

Link to Support Care for 'Wounded Warriors'

OAKLAND, Calif., Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- William Ozzie may be a fictional soldier, but his electronic health record showed how Kaiser Permanente, the Department of Veterans Affairs and private sector providers can seamlessly share information over an interoperable health information exchange. In a critical step towards giving patients and doctors a "health care Internet," Kaiser Permanente today collaborated with the VA in a unique "wounded warrior" test demonstration of the Nationwide Health Information Network. The scenario showed how physicians could safely and securely share Ozzie's sample medical history across multiple EHR systems, such as Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect(TM) and the VA's VistAWeb, to inform medical decisions and deliver high quality care regardless of location or where the health record originated.

"As the nation seeks new solutions for reforming health care and reducing costs, this partnership with the VA and other providers illustrates how health information technology can dramatically reshape the health care system and improve patient outcomes. This is particularly important for our veterans and 'wounded warriors' who deserve the best care available," said Andy Wiesenthal, associate executive director of The Permanente Federation. "The ultimate goal is for all providers and patients to have secure digital access to the right health information at the right time, something Kaiser Permanente has achieved for our community with KP HealthConnect(TM), the world's largest civilian electronic health record system. The engagement with VistAWeb, one of the largest electronic health interfaces, used throughout VA's more than 1,400 points-of-care, is a tremendous milestone. With this NHIN demonstration and other initiatives such as KP's Microsoft HealthVault pilot project, we're taking the next step in making electronic health records standards-based and interoperable."

In the test demonstration at the American Health Information Community meeting in Washington, D.C., Kaiser Permanente physician George Peredy, MD, showed how William Ozzie's sample patient data could be obtained from five different health providers including the VA, the Department of Defense and the private sector. In the model, Ozzie was wounded in Iraq and received treatment over the course of nearly two years at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland; MedVirginia St. Mary's Hospital in Virginia; Holston Medical Group Urgent Care in Tennessee; NCHICA First Health facility in North Carolina; Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Virginia; and finally a Kaiser Permanente hospital in California. Dr. Peredy, demonstrating how an NHIN exchange could work, showed the sample medical information flow from the other facilities in the test environment to a Kaiser Permanente model and be used immediately at the point of care.

As nearly every patient today receives care from multiple providers, interoperable electronic health records that can share data are critical for truly integrated care. This need is particularly evident within the military health community. Approximately 40 percent of America's veterans receive their health care outside of VA facilities, and up to 70 percent of active duty personnel health care is provided outside of the U.S. Department of Defense's health system.

Much like how automated teller machines from various banks share information and work seamlessly for account holders from different institutions, electronic health records from different systems can be safely linked to provide access to data. The health information exchanges demonstrated by Kaiser Permanente and the VA are premised on ensuring the privacy and security of patient information, and as integrated systems like these are operationalized in the future, patient consent to share data will be obtained at the very beginning of the engagement.

With KP HealthConnect, all of Kaiser Permanente's 14,000-plus physicians have electronic access to their patients' medical records in every one of Kaiser Permanente's 421 medical offices and clinics. Kaiser Permanente's 8.7 million members have access to My Health Manager -- Kaiser Permanente's personal health record -- where they can manage their health online. Patients are empowered, with My Health Manager providing critical time-saving features, including online appointment scheduling and prescription refills. In addition, users have 24/7 online access to lab test results, eligibility and benefits information, and even their children's immunization records.

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 nearly 8.7 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 165,000 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and more than 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://www.kp.org/newscenter


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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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