Progress Toward #CTHNext

Three weeks into construction at the Center for Total Health, we’re seeing real progress!


Lounge - Before Construction

Lounge – Before Construction

Lounge - During Construction

Lounge – During Construction

Back Hall - Before

Back Hall – Before Construction

Back Hall - During Demolition

Back Hall – During Demolition


Be sure to follow us on Twitter — @kptotalhealth — for more updates.

Keeping the Men in Your Life Healthy

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 4.22.59 PMMany men avoid visiting the doctor. We often joke about it, but when our dads, brothers, partners or friends put off having something looked at, it can result in very real consequences. Even though women on average visit the doctor 20 percent more often than men, it is men who have much higher hospitalization rates for preventable conditions.

So why do men seem to go out of their way to prevent calling the doc? Many men simply aren’t used to communicating about how they feel and aren’t comfortable asking for help.

Total Health Radio has dedicated an entire podcast episode to this topic, including tips for supporting the men in your life in staying healthy. You can check it out — along with additional information and resources — at its official web page. You can also listen to it here, via Stitcher

And to see the above infographic in its entirety, click here for the full-sized version.

Medicare: Examining Care Coordination and Evolving Payment Structures

Demo Begins for #CTHNext

Today, the Center for Total Health team took the ceremonial first swings of demolition as construction began. Click on the images to see us in action.

Keith Montgomery, executive director

Keith Montgomery, executive director

Ted Eytan, MD, medical director

Ted Eytan, MD, medical director

Yen Greene

Yen Greene

Erin Meade

Erin Meade

There’s no turning back now! Stay tuned for more updates on construction progress in the coming weeks.

Coming This Fall….

Health care is changing at an amazing pace.  Here at the Center for Total Health, we’re changing too. The center is closed through September 8, 2015, for its first full-scale renovation since opening in 2011.

Before: Empty and ready for (some light) demolition!

The Before: empty and ready for (some) demolition!

We’re re-imaging our space to reflect the future of total health, and to better engage our guests in the journey. Some of you may have participated in the designing of the new exhibits. We’re excited for the new, improved center to open and for all of you to come see it.

As construction moves along this summer, we’ll periodically provide updates here on our blog and give you a sneak peak of things to come. You can get more frequent updates by following the center and our construction hashtag – #CTHNext – on Twitter.

If you haven’t seen our new multimedia wall, the theme of “Total Health Across America” sets the stage of things to come in new exhibits. The new exhibits will be anchored by several personae – a young millennial, a couple expecting their first child, an office worker who spends a little too much time at his desk. Perhaps one (or maybe a few) of these personae will ring a bell with you, or remind you of a friend or family member.

As always, we’ll feature cutting-edge technology and highlight innovations leading the way in improving the health of Americans — whether the initiatives are led by Kaiser Permanente or other industry leaders.  Our hope is that you will continue to be inspired and learn from the many events and exhibits hosted at the Center for Total Health. We look forward to seeing you this fall!

Stay Safe This Summer

While most of us look forward with great anticipation to summer’s long days filled with warmth and fun, there is a less sunny side to the story: ER visits actually peak in the summertime months.

kp-infographic-2015-er-summer-months-550x730Fear not: There are things we can each do to plan ahead and protect our family and ourselves. From heat-related illness to water safety, travel to cookouts, this piece from our friends at KP Share has it covered — not to mention a handy infographic perfect for printing out and putting up on the fridge as a reminder (you can also click on the image for a larger, printer-friendly version).

Check out all of the resources and tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Red Cross and Kaiser Permanente in the full article.

Total Health Questionnaire: Mary Anne Sterling

Mary Anne Sterling is a Health IT expert with a passion for patient engagement and empowerment. She recently guest authored this great post about Blue Button for the CTH Blog. 

Q: In a few words, what does Total Health mean to you?
A: My physical and emotional wellbeing, supported by nutrition, exercise, and alternative medicine.

MaryAnne Sterling

Mary Anne Sterling

Q: What’s your first health-related memory?
A: Age 4: chicken pox.

Q: Which person, living or dead, is your health hero or role model?
A: Regina Holliday, who has made it her mission to help everyone have access to their health data.

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Italian.

Q: What do you value most in your work? What inspires you to continue?
A: Making a difference. People who listen to my presentations and come up to me afterwards to tell me their own stories about struggling to care for a loved one with dementia — they inspire me to keep going.

Q: In your opinion, what is the most underrated way to improve health for individuals?
A: Alternative medicine.

Q: Where would you most like to live?
A: Rocky Mountains.

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?
A: Bringing visibility to millions of family caregivers struggling to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia.

Q: If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would you pick?
A: Jackie Kennedy, Mother Teresa, and Joan of Arc.

Designing a Better, Greener, More Sustainable Hospital

Interview with Robin Guenther, Architect and Expert in Sustainable Design

Robin Guenther doesn’t just design pretty hospitals. She designs spaces that resonate health and well-being from the ground up.

As the sustainable healthcare leader at global architecture and design firm Perkins+Will, Guenther understands that every aspect of health and sustainability needs to be considered in the design of hospitals and healing spaces. It’s not enough to build hospitals with the latest healthcare technology. Rather, we need to be considering all aspects of a hospital’s building design and how that design lends itself to healing people and healing the planet.

“There’s something ironic about physicians, nurses and caregivers working to keep people alive and healthy in buildings that feel dead and that are built of materials that contribute to disease,” explains Guenther. “We need to build healthcare facilities that inspire health, that are built with healthy materials, that use as little energy as possible and that connect us with our living environments.”

Guenther was one of the keynote speakers at the CleanMed conference in Portland, Ore. this year. The conference is held annually for hospital and business leaders working at the forefront of sustainable healthcare.

In this video, Guenther shares some of her insights on the current trends in sustainable healthcare design – from building low-energy and net-zero hospitals to designing for the impacts of a changing climate.

What Is Blue Button? Why Do I Care?

RevisedBlueButtonlogowithmarkEditor’s Note: This post is authored by guest blogger Mary Anne Sterling. Mary Anne has been a thought leader in health information technology and health policy for over a decade. She serves on several healthcare advisory panels, a Federal Advisory Committee, and recently served as Executive in Residence for the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) Foundation, Institute for e-Health Policy.

  • Are you caring for an elderly parent? Are you trying to keep your child’s vaccination records up-to-date?
  • Do you have a health issue? Do you want to feel more in control of your personal health information?
  • Do you need to share your health information among several doctors? Are you changing doctors?
  • Do you need to find the results of a medical test? Do you need a current list of your medications?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you need access to your health information or the health information of someone you care for. You may not be aware that you have the right to access it and healthcare providers must allow you to do so. When you have access to your health information, you can partner with care providers on improving the quality and safety of care that you or a family member receives.

To help you better understand why this should be important to you, I’ve asked Aaron Seib of the National Association for Trusted Exchange (NATE) to help me break down what this means and what you can do to help.

MA: Why would someone want access to their own health information?
AS: You have a legal right to receive your personal health information. Many people are not aware of this. When you have your health information, you can:

  • Share it with your doctors or trusted family members or caregivers
  • Check to make sure the information, such as your medication list, is accurate and complete
  • Keep track of when your child had his/her last vaccination
  • Have your medical history available in case of emergency, when traveling, seeking a second opinion, or switching health insurance companies
  • Plug your health information into apps and tools that help you set and reach personalized health goals.

These things are just too important to leave to others to manage for you. It’s time to take command of your health information. After all, it belongs to YOU.

MAS: It’s one thing to have access, but will the information be in an understandable format?  Will medical jargon be translated?  How will someone know what to do with the information?
AS: Our medical information is often difficult to understand and we don’t always have easy access to people who can explain it to us. Right now, it is imperative that people have access to their health information first and then we can work with patients, family caregivers, and app developers to ensure this information is presented to them in a way that they can better understand and use. The good news: we see multiple services already emerging that assist in translating complicated health data into accessible information for patients and family caregivers.

MAS: If I want to share my health information, can I choose what parts of my information I allow to be shared?  For example, will my mental health notes from my psychiatrist or therapist be made available to my primary care doctor?  Is it all or nothing as far as what is made available?
AS: Working in partnership with your doctors, you can decide what information is shared and for what purpose. But you must be actively engaged in managing your health information in order to do that. You may decide to share some information, all of your information, or nothing at all.

BlueButton-Logo-withtextandmarkv2 (2)MAS: How is my information protected? With all the hacking of retail, credit cards and even insurance accounts, how can I be sure my information is being kept safe, especially when I download it?
AS: Using ‘Blue Button” is one good way you can access your health records electronically. Millions of Americans can get easy, secure online access to their health records thanks to Blue Button. Health information about you may be stored in many places, such as doctors’ offices, hospitals, drug stores and health insurance companies. Ask your health care providers or health insurance company if they offer you the ability to view online, download, and share your health records via Blue Button and look for the Blue Button logo.

MAS: How do I talk to my doctor about getting access to my health information?
A: NATE has a letter that you can download from our website to make that conversation easier. The hardest part is getting the conversation started! But you will be glad you did when you have the peace of mind of knowing your health information is at your fingertips.

MAS: If someone is interested in knowing more about this topic, what are the best resources for more information?  
AS: NATE is not the only organization working to get patients and family caregivers access to their health information. Additional sources of information are:

Blue Button:

Other initiatives that you may be interested in learning more about:

Overall, having access to your personal health information, or the health information of someone you care for, is an important step in maximizing your health and the health of others. Now is the time to get involved in the discussion and request access to your own health information. Being a more informed healthcare consumer could save your life!

Wednesday is National Running Day

running day blank logoThis Wednesday, June 3rd, is National Running Day, a day for running enthusiasts (nuts?) like me to celebrate our love of the sport and for those who want to start to get out there. The thing I love most about the running community is its acceptance of everyone, whether you run a 5 or 15 minute mile, go out once a week or twice a day, started 20 years ago or 20 days ago. So, if you’re a runner, get out there this Wednesday and celebrate your love of this sport with the community. If you’re not a runner, but think you might want to be, this is the day!

You can find official running day information and groups on Facebook and Twitter. If there’s not one in your city, try a local running club or make your own with some friends. See what your fellow runners are up to by following #RunningDay on the usual .social media platforms.

I’ll be out there for an early morning run with a new running club, something I’ve been meaning to do for ages but somehow always avoid. Here’s to new adventures, whatever they may be!



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