Monday, 14 July 2014

Kaiser Permanente: the keys to success

Kaiser Permanente (KP) is an integrated managed care consortium, acting in California, and to a lesser extent on 8 other U.S. states. In the series of "Virtual Clinical Practice" I have already made ​​a brief presentation of the most relevant features of Kaiser Permanente to better understand the development of Health Connect, the electronic medical record of this insurer.

KP Results

What attracts us, European health managers, to KP are their excellent results, both in adjusted resource utilisation as well as in the quality of care which contrasts to the American environment where inequities in access, organisational and medical performance disorder prevails. To illustrate what I mean I have chosen this article:

Chris Ham surprised those of us who did not know KP, when in 2003 the British Medical Journal published an article that I reviewed in the first outline, showed that the National Health Service has made use of three and a half times more hospital beds than KP in 11 pathologies as frequently as you have seen. On the other hand "Hewitt Health Value Initiative" shows that KP occupies the top positions both in the reviews of health plans (insurance policies) and in the quality of care, and in the last outline you can see a sustained reduction in the emergency rates in a series of twelve years. And still to date: 17 KP hospitals have been top (4, December, 2012) in the contest organised by "Leapfrog Group". In this contest KP has managed to earn 25% of the 67 prizes on a survey made on 1,000 hospitals across the U.S. It’s right to say that these awards focus on safety and clinical care quality, not efficiency.

Look at the values ​​they preach: a) Provide health services that add value to people. b) Improving clinical outcomes steadily. c)  Commit to leadership for clinical effectiveness. d) Align objectives between levels of care. e) Being accountable to their members.

KP is an organization that is globally integrated, where the care teams are quick to align goals when integration isn’t possible and where the commitment to excellence and innovation permeates into every corner. They have pride in empty hospitals – ‘it’s a sign that we do well in the community’, say the managers, and, with this mentality, every urgent medical admission is seen as a failure.

George Halvorson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kaiser Permanente, is an opinion leader in the U.S., and in his book, “Health care will not reform itself", says that the organisations who want to achieve excellence require strategic agenda based on:
  • The attention focused on the pathologies that in a more decisive way influence cost.
  • Deploying instruments to identify patients who need intervention.
  • The systematic support in improving processes.
  • Generating a culture where patients and professionals work together to improve health.

Jordi Varela

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