Kaiser Permanente sponsors healthcare IT summit

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Americans show a strong interest in controlling their own electronic medical records, according to a survey released May 2 at the forum Health IT: Unlocking the Potential in Washington, D.C. Kaiser Permanente joined more than 100 healthcare advocates, providers, policymakers and purchasers to discuss the benefits and challenges of widespread adoption and promotion of electronic health information technology. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed said they think a computer medical records system is more efficient than a paper-based one.

At the meeting, speakers and interactive panel discussions addressed the challenges and opportunities of electronic health information, the value of electronic records to the health care safety net, disaster response and public health reporting, and the need to explain consumer perceptions about privacy concerns associated with moving from paper to electronic records. They also discussed new survey findings of 1,000 Americans on their impressions of the value of electronic health information.

The survey showed adults favor providers (51 percent over 17 percent) and insurance carriers (68 percent over 16 percent) who use electronic medical records over those who do not, indicates a study by StrategyOne, an independent public opinion research company, on behalf of Kaiser Permanente. Twelve percent of Americans already review their medical records on health insurance company's websites, and 56 percent say that they would like to use an electronic record to check claims and coverage, or have electronic access to personal records (51%) in the future, according to the study. Seventy-three percent said they agree with the statement, “The benefits of electronic medical records, such as better treatment in an emergency and a reduction in medical errors, outweigh any potential risk to patient privacy or the security of patient information." To see the survey, click here: http://xnet.kp.org/newscenter/kphealthconnect/healthitsurvey.html

Also at the conference, keynote speaker Carolyn Clancy, MD, of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and moderator Susan Dentzer, of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, led a discussion on communicating the benefits of health IT to consumers, policymakers, employers and other stakeholders.

In April, Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health record project deployed non-clinical inpatient applications, including pharmacy, admission, discharge and transfer, and billing, in all Kaiser Permanente hospitals. KP HealthConnect has also invested in converting medical charts and prescription and treatment orders in more than 400 medical offices and more than 35 hospitals across the United States. The implementation provides all 8.7 million Kaiser Permanente members with the option to securely access portions of their medical record through http://www.kp.org/.

“We are building the foundation for our future,” said Andrew M. Wiesenthal, MD, SM, associate director of The Permanente Federation. “This investment is no more burdensome than the critical investments we make in our new hospitals. Ultimately, it is an investment in the health of our members and our communities.”

“Delivering a secure electronic health record that follows our members through every point of contact – in the exam room, in the hospital, by phone and online – ensures the highest level of safety and quality,” said Louise Liang, MD, senior vice president, Quality and Clinical Systems Support for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. “With KP HealthConnect, we are leveraging our integrated delivery model and cutting-edge health information technology to move health care into the digital age.”