Washington Post Looks at Kaiser Permanente’s Placement of PCs in Exam Rooms
The Washington Post yesterday looked at HMO Kaiser Permanente's move to put personal computers in physicians' exam rooms and create electronic medical records for Kaiser's 8.4 million members (Brubaker, Washington Post, 3/6). Last month, Kaiser announced a $1.8 billion contract with Madison, Wis.-based Epic Systems to convert the medical records of members in nine states, including 6.3 million in California, to electronic form. The change will take approximately three years to complete and will make records available to 12,000 providers (California Healthline, 2/5). The move is intended to allow Kaiser clinicians to use a secure system to access "the largest and most current patient database in the world," according to George Halvorson, the HMO's CEO. Kaiser members also can access the system to get test results and information about their health status when the EMRs become available. For now, the system gives Kaiser physicians a limited patient history. Meanwhile, computers in exam rooms are helping physicians such as Dr. Nestor Alvarado, a pediatrician at Kaiser's Germantown, Md., facility, save time and share information from health Web sites with patients. Alvarado also answers patients' questions via e-mail (Washington Post, 3/6).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.