Douglas McCarthy, Kimberly Mueller
D. McCarthy and K. Mueller, Kaiser Permanente: Bridging the Quality Divide with Integrated Practice, Group Accountability, and Health Information Technology, The Commonwealth Fund, June 2009.
Kaiser Permanente—comprising the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and Permanente Medical Groups in eight regions—is the largest nonprofit integrated health care delivery system in the United States. The successful evolution of this organizational structure in a competitive marketplace has required a close partnership between managers and physicians supported by a culture of physician group accountability for quality and efficiency. An overarching agenda for achieving excellence focuses on high-impact health conditions, provides goal-oriented tools to analyze population data, proactively identifies patients in need of intervention, supports systematic process improvements, and promotes collaboration between patients and professionals to improve health. Central to this effort is KP HealthConnect, a comprehensive health information system that integrates an electronic health record with the tools to support physicians in delivering evidence-based medicine, coupled with a robust online patient portal that enhances members’ access to and involvement in their care.
This study was based on publicly available information and self-reported data provided by the case study institution(s). The aim of Commonwealth Fund–sponsored case studies of this type is to identify institutions that have achieved results indicating high performance in a particular area of interest, have undertaken innovations designed to reach higher performance, or exemplify attributes that can foster high performance. The studies are intended to enable other institutions to draw lessons from the studied institutions' experience that will be helpful in their own efforts to become high performers. Even the best-performing organizations may fall short in some areas or make mistakes—emphasizing the need for systematic approaches to improve quality and prevent harm to patients and staff. The Commonwealth Fund is not an accreditor of health care organizations or systems, and the inclusion of an institution in the Fund's case study series is not an endorsement by the Fund for receipt of health care from the institution.