Kaiser Says EHR Program Moving Forward
Kaiser Permanente's electronic health records system remains on track, despite being several years behind its original implementation goals, according to Andy Wiesenthal, Kaiser's associate director of IT clinical information support, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
Wiesenthal said the EHR program, called HealthConnect, has been implemented in medical clinics in six of Kaiser's eight regions:
- Colorado, primarily in Denver and Boulder;
- Georgia, primarily in Atlanta;
- Ohio, primarily in Akron and Cleveland;
- The Mid-Atlantic region of northern Virginia; Washington, D.C.; and Baltimore; and
- The Pacific Northwest region, based in Portland, Ore.
More than 75% of Kaiser's 8.59 million members live in California, where implementation of the system is more than half complete, Wiesenthal said. The Web portion of the system is running and available to members, "and more than half of the [physicians] are using the system," he added.
Kaiser has replaced all but two of its California hospital inpatient pharmacy systems, and 24 of the 30 hospitals have implemented electronic admissions, discharge and administration systems, Wiesenthal said. He added that full clinical systems were implemented at its South Sacramento medical center in September and Baldwin Park medical center in October.
George Halvorson, Kaiser chair and CEO, in January 2005 said that the system would be implemented by the end of 2006, the Business Times reports. However, full implementation will not be complete in California until late 2007 or early 2008, Wiesenthal said.
Kaiser said it has budgeted about $3.2 billion for the system, but Wiesenthal said that figure does not include the cost of installing and implementing software systems in all 30 of their California hospitals, which could be one-third of the total cost for the system, the Business Times reports (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 12/1). 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.