Kaiser Permanente Announces Plan To Automate Patient Medical Records
As expected, Kaiser Permanente, the nation's largest not-for-profit HMO, yesterday announced a $1.8 billion plan to work with Madison, Wis.-based Epic Systems to convert the medical records of 8.4 million members in nine states, including 6.3 million in California, to electronic form, the Los Angeles Times reports (Richardson, Los Angeles Times, 2/5). The change will take approximately three years to complete and will make records available to 12,000 providers. Under the plan, Kaiser will make parts of each patient's records available online to them, allowing patients to access recent test results, view their complete immunization history or review their current medications (California Healthline, 2/4). Although some smaller health plans and the U.S. Veterans Health Administration have made the switch from paper to electronic records, the large size of the Kaiser project could make it "the first to reach masses of people," the Times reports. "I do think this is a very important move in improving the quality of care, the consistency of care and reducing errors in the delivery of care," Ann Monroe, director of the California HealthCare Foundation quality initiative, said (Los Angeles Times, 2/5). Kaiser CEO George Halvorson said the password-protected system will be "the largest and most current patient database in the world." Analysts said that Kaiser is the largest health care provider ever to attempt to automate so many records at one time (Brubaker, Washington Post, 2/5).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.