First things first

Tuesday, May 07, 2013 01:13 PM
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Kaiser Permanente physicians making members a priority

Michael Chase, Associate Medical Director of Quality and Infomatics, Kaiser Permanente Colorado

At Kaiser Permanente, our patients are our members and we put them first. With patients/members at the center of our care, Kaiser Permanente’s integrated system supports an innovative use of teams backed by technology so physicians can focus on members’ total health.

In partnership with our members, our integrated system makes it easier for physicians to coordinate care and achieve superior outcomes. Physicians consistently look to balance quality, service and affordability to provide value to our members. The integrated system means a member’s physician and health care team, including pharmacists, and laboratory and radiology technologists, are linked electronically 24/7/365.

Supporting our integrated system is the electronic health record (EHR). Through the EHR, physicians communicate with each other and members, and proactively care for our members by using our information systems, including clinical registries. This coordinated approach has the added benefit of lowering health care costs.

We’ve achieved some worthy recognition in our quest for total health:

  • 2012 Million Hearts Hypertension Control Champion from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
  • National Committee for Quality Assurance Accreditation
    • #1 Commercial Health Plan and #1 Medicare Health Plan in Colorado
    • #6 Commercial Health Plan and #2 Medicare Health Plan in the nation (out of 395)
  • Highest in member satisfaction in the JD Powers and Associates Member Health Insurance Plan Study for six years in a row.
  • The only Medicare Five Star Health Insurance Plan for three years in a row in the country, based on quality performance.

The awards are gratifying. They let people know we’re delivering high-quality health care. But the real reward is seeing our members get and stay healthy. One example that highlights the effectiveness of care is our approach to hypertension.

Last fall, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recognized Kaiser Permanente’s Colorado region as a 2012 Hypertension Control Champion by Million Hearts™, a national public-private initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services. Kaiser Permanente Colorado is one of just two health care providers in the country to be recognized as a 2012 Hypertension Control Champion.

What does it mean to be a Hypertension Control Champion? The designation signifies Kaiser Permanente Colorado as having had remarkable success controlling hypertension across its entire patient population, supported by verifiable data documenting the improvement. The result is fewer heart attacks and strokes for members.

“The recognition of Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s hypertension control work reflects Kaiser Permanente’s dedication in engaging patients proactively and focusing on their total health,” said Bill Wright, executive medical director, Kaiser Permanente.

Measuring results
Since 2008, Kaiser Permanente Colorado’s focus on managing hypertension has resulted in an improvement from an initial member control rate of 61 percent to its current control rate of 82.6 percent. Nationally, hypertension control rates hover around 50 percent.

There are five central components of Kaiser Permanente’s hypertension control strategy:

  • Managing blood pressure in the office: Primary care physicians, nurses and clinical pharmacy staff develop long-term medication management programs for members with hypertension.
  • Eliminating barriers: Members with hypertension are able to receive free blood pressure checks on a walk-in or appointment basis.
  • Registries: Through data housed within the Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect® electronic medical record, registries are created to identify members with hypertension.
  • Identification of care gaps: Through the use of clinical registries, members are identified who have care gaps, such as uncontrolled hypertension that needs additional attention.
  • Patient outreach: Members with care gaps are proactively engaged through multiple channels, such as phone calls, mail, secure messaging and face-to-face visits.

Prevention. Proactive care. Putting the member first. Physicians at Kaiser Permanente, believe this is a better way to build a healthy future.

Posted in: Colorado Medicine | Practice Evolution | Payment Reform | Practice Redesign | Accountable Care Organizations


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