Just Breathe….Smoking Cessation Support


While it is difficult to overcome the addiction of smoking and completely kick the habit, different strategies and tactics can help control the desire to smoke in certain situations. To help, Kaiser Permanente established an online program called “Breathe,” free for Kaiser Permanente members 18 years or older. The program gives you a closer look as to why it’s so hard to quit smoking and ongoing support based on your unique needs. Components of this program include:

  • Tools to track and monitor your everyday process
  • A personalized plan to quit smoking
  • Relaxation and guided imagery podcast
  • Finding ways to cope with stress and deal with the urge to smoke

Nurse Practitioner Louis Casa encourages members to “try the program that has successfully helped 58 percent of its participants stop smoking”. She also expresses if you aren’t able to finish the program all at once, you can save your spot, then pick up where you left off when you return. That way, you can to finish at your own pace. You could also be confident that your privacy is protected and that the security of your own personal information will be maintained.

Another supportive resource Kaiser Permanente has is personal Wellness Coaching. These convenient phone sessions provide personal support to help members achieve their goals. Kaiser Permanente’s Wellness Coaching is available for five topics; tobacco cessation, stress management, physical activity, weight management, and healthy eating.

How Wellness Coaching works?

  • Patients are assigned a coach. During their first appointment, a coach helps assess your readiness and motivation. Are you prepared to make changes at this time?
  • After your first session, your and your coach will work together on how often you should meet by phone.
  • To make an appointment, call 1-800-862-4295, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. (no referral needed, members are encouraged to call if needed)


For more information, the following resources are available online:

Always remember the four D’s:

  • Deep breathing
  • Drinking water
  • Delaying gratification- 2 minute delay helps
  • Doing something else


Exercise as a Vital Sign


Since May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, we were reflecting on a meeting at the Center for Total Health a couple years ago with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to address key issues related to establishing a physical activity prescription at every visit as a medical standard of care. Kaiser Permanante’s own Robert Sallis, MD, was in attendance and helped lead a walking break to visit the Supreme Court.

A lot has happened since that meeting. A white paper was published summarizing the call to action and an article was published in the American Journal of Medicine on June 3, 2016. Vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate and other metrics are used to understand the potential root of health issues. They can inform clinicians about the likelihood of future diseases and your potential health status. Smoking, tobacco use and other metrics have been used as predictors of health for years.

Several large health systems are now monitoring physical activity as a vital sign, including Kaiser Permanente, Intermountain Healthcare (UT), and Greenville Health System (SC). The process is simple. A health care team member asks two questions: 1) On average, how many days per week do you engage in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity? And, 2) On average, how many minutes do you engage in physical activity at this level?Rx pad 1

“As a physician, we know simple steps can have a huge impact on someone’s health,” Sallis said. “You don’t have to join a gym or commit significant amounts of time to exercising. Physical activity is about movement and that movement can make all the difference on your long-term health.”

This more proactive approach offers patients a chance to partner with their care provider on more personalized interventions to improve their health, Sallis said.

Kaiser Permanente of Southern California recorded and 85 percent capture rate for 2.1 million members during the first year. The experience at Kaiser Permanente and other health care systems shows that physical activity can be captured by any medical assistant or member of the care team as part of the routine vital signs process.

“We are currently working with the ACSM and Exercise is Medicine initiative to establish exercise as a vital sign (EVS) around the world. At Kaiser Permanente, we’re proud to be a leader in this space,” Sallis said. “Currently, more and more health care organizations are adopting EVS and we are working on establishing a HEDIS measure around assessing exercise in adults.”


New Perinatal Depression Display


mother-child-iconPerinatal depression occurs in 12-20% of all pregnancies and can include premature delivery, decreased maternal-child interactions, child behavior problems and, in severe cases, suicide or infanticide.  Through Kaiser Permanente of Northern California’s Universal Perinatal Depression Screening Program, all women are screened with a nine-question survey called the PHQ-9 three times during the prenatal period. Each woman’s obstetrician reviews the results and, when depressive symptoms are present, offers treatment and referrals for classes, support groups, individual counseling or prescription medication.


  • Screened 98% of pregnant and postpartum women at least once during and after pregnancy, compared to less than 1% prior to implementation
  • Increased rate of new depression diagnoses to 12%, compared to 8% prior to implementation
  • Provided treatement to 82% of women with severe depression, compared to 5% prior to implementation.

For more information on the program, visit the center to see other displays on innovative programs or read the full story on KP Share.

A Future of Health Care Without Walls


Today, May 10, at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health, the Network for Excellence in Health Innovation (NEHI) convened experts and launched a project to frame a plan for advancing “Health Care Without Walls” — the type of 21st century health care system that technology now makes possible.

Drawing on existing and future innovations, new modes of care delivery, and an augmented health care work force, much of health care can now be shifted out of conventional institutional settings through modalities that transcend time and distance. Health care can be brought closer to individuals in their homes, communities, or workplaces, dramatically expanding access for the underserved, frail, or elderly, and increasing convenience for everyone. Under the right circumstances, the efficiency and effectiveness of care could be increased, and costs sharply lowered.

At the NEHI convening, Keith Montgomery, executive director of the Center for Total Health, presented one of Kaiser Permanente’s own “Imagining Care Anywhere” visions for the future: a scenario involving a fictional dementia patient, Leo. A panel of executives from health systems, health information technology and health services companies – along with Aneesh Chopra, the former chief technology officer of the Obama administration — built on that vision, discussing where health care could be by 2025 if rebuilt and reconfigured on new technology platforms.

nehi pic 2Yet a system of “health care without walls” won’t come about without dismantling many obstacles, and a second panel of experts will address these barriers at the convening. The legal and regulatory environment, particularly at the state level, has not adapted quickly enough to technologies like telehealth and remote monitoring. Longstanding state scope-of-practice battles already lead to an inflexible health care work force and could further impede a shift to more distributed care. Many insurers are reluctant to pay for telehealth when some evidence suggests that, to date, it has added to the costs of care already provided, rather than displacing them. And a range of human factors – including how humans behave in relation to technology — may also stand in the way.

NEHI’s year-long project will examine these forces through a series of “work streams,” and identify policies and other initiatives that can help to overcome these barriers. Only by toppling them can we achieve the sort of health care system that Dave and other Americans should rightly expect to have in place today.

NEHI is a nonprofit, non-partisan think tank and membership organization focused on enabling innovations that lead to better health care, smarter spending, and healthier people. In partnership with members from across the spectrum of health care, NEHI conducts research and produces thought leadership designed to stimulate that innovation and change. For more information, visit www.nehi.net.

Nurses Week 2017


National Nurses Week is May 6 to 12. It’s a time to honor, celebrate and thank America’s 4 million nurses for the countless ways they make us healthier in mind, body and spirit. At Kaiser Permanente, more than 54,000 nurses serve our members across multiple settings and care specialties. Whether they’re working on the front line or as managers, executives, researchers, and policy specialists, Kaiser Permanente nurses are enhancing patient care experiences. Read more about Nurses Week and take time to celebrate and thank our nurses here.

Nursing Leadership Now On Display


2017.04.21 #MedStudent WellBeing at KP Center for Total Health 03367

In November 2016, I had the distinct (and long sought after) honor of meeting alumni of the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing (KFSN).

Deana Medinas, Clair Lisker, Deloras Jones, and Phyllis Moroney are graduates of KFSN, which was open from 1947-1976, and graduated 1,065 health professionals.

Clair Lisker was a student of Dorothea Daniels, the first administrator of Permanente Foundation Hospital Los Angeles in 1953, and later the administrator of Kaiser Permanente San Francisco. Phyllis Moroney was the first nurse practitioner in California. Deana Medinas became the medical group administrator for Kaiser Permanente Hayward.

They didn’t know as much about Kaiser Permanente when they chose KSFN. However, they did know the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing was ranked the #1  nursing school in California. And then they practiced and later helped build Permanente Medicine.

After our visit, Deloras shared these beautiful Legacy of Kaiser Permanente Nursing video stories, which we knew should also have a home here at the Center for Total Health.

So, on the day that the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine came to the Center for Total Health for a historic dialogue on medical student well-being and resilience, our “Leadership in Nursing” was installed and ready, thanks to the Center for Total Health team.

In the photograph above, you can see the piece being played for the first time to an audience of medical education leaders from across the United States. Marc Klau, MD, Vice Dean of Education and Clinical Integration, is next to the display. Also present are Patrick Courneya, MD, and Ed Ellison, MD.

Most all of us encounter nurses in our life’s journey. I can tell you that physicians like me are trained by nurses in my own journey. To know where you’re going, it’s important to know where you came from. And there, you usually find people who live in the future, too (these nurses were practicing the kind of medicine in the 50’s that we are trying to get to today!) just like the 54,000 nurses who care for, treat and heal 11.8 million members across the care settings and specialties of Kaiser Permanente.

Q&A with Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard Tyson on Mental Health


Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson discussed mental health, the social determinants of health and Kaiser Permanente’s always-active expansion strategy with Southern Bureau Chief Dave Barkholz in San Francisco. To read an edited transcript, click here.

Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated health system, has made mental-health awareness a priority, as it seeks to promote the total health of the individuals and communities it serves. Even though depression and other mental health issues are common, they can be difficult to talk about. Kaiser Permanente’s “Find Your Words” public health awareness campaign focuses on TV, radio and online messages that talk about depression in an honest and inspiring way.

Kaiser Permanente Launches ‘Find Your Words’ Campaign to Fight Stigma Around Mental Health


Kaiser Permanente’s “Find Your Words” public health awareness campaign focuses on TV, radio and online messages that talk about depression in an honest and inspiring way. Coinciding with the start of National Mental Health Month, the campaign launched Monday, May 1.

In addition to the “Find Your Words” campaign, Kaiser Permanente Colorado awarded grant funding to advance social and emotional wellness and mental health in school districts across the state. In August 2017, Kaiser Permanente will award five Colorado school districts a combined $1.5 million in Thriving Schools behavioral health grants.

The schools will use the grants to increase access to mental health and wellness programs to help teachers and staff learn how to identify and deal with mental health needs in students as well as themselves.

You can read more about the Find Your Words campaign and learn more about the grants KP Colorado awarded here. 

Four Ways the Health Care Industry Can Help Green the Planet


Earth Day 2017 is April 22, a good time to consider the many ways both individuals and organizations can take steps toward greening the planet — whether it’s opting for products made without harmful chemicals, setting up workplace compost programs, or investing in renewable energy sources.

Kaiser Permanente, the largest integrated health care system in the U.S., is one organization that is leading by example with its dedication to environmental stewardship.

“We understand the clear connection between a healthy environment and the health of individuals,” said Kathy Gerwig, vice president of employee safety, health and wellness, and environmental stewardship officer at Kaiser Permanente. “Preventing environmental causes of illness is the main objective of our sustainability program. We also recognize that the health care industry’s impact on pollution and waste is substantial, and we want to be proactive in combatting it.”

Among the ways health care organizations can help green the planet:

  1. photo of solar panels on top of a buildingEmbrace renewable energy. Green power sources, including solar and wind energy, are more accessible than ever. Rooftop solar installations and large-scale wind farms are two of many available options. In 2016, 46 percent of the electricity Kaiser Permanente used in California came from renewable resources.
  2. Insist on better products. There may not be room in the budget to buy exclusively sustainable products, but organizations can focus on certain areas that will make a big difference, such as more efficient electronics. Kaiser Permanente recently earned the EPEAT Purchaser Award for buying greener electronics in 2016. Over its lifetime, this equipment will result in a number of environmental impact reductions, including avoiding the disposal of 124 metric tons of hazardous waste — equal to the weight of 1,009 refrigerators.
  3. photo of women shopping at a farmers marketEat what you preach. The industrial food chain can negatively impact health, exposing workers and consumers to harmful chemicals and creating pollution when food is transported long distances. Locally grown, sustainably farmed and processed food choices are good for the environment and for individual health. To this end, Kaiser Permanente buys nearly 25 percent of its food sustainably, and aims to raise that number to 100 percent by 2025.
  4. Set a goal and strive to reach it. Starting with small behavioral changes can make a big difference, but having an ambitious goal to aim toward can also be a great motivator for significant change. Kaiser Permanente has set ambitious sustainability goals to meet by 2025, including recycling 100 percent of non-hazardous waste, reducing water use by 25 percent per square foot of building space, and becoming carbon net positive.

Thanks to Kaiser Permanente Share for providing this blog.

Why Talking About Depression Is a Radical Act


Depression is a topic that remains shrouded in silence, yet it’s a condition that has touched millions of people. One in five adults experience mental health issues in a given year. One in five youth experience a severe mental health condition at some point during childhood or adolescence.

WHOgraphic_stairs_274x168Still, over the last century, depression has been one of the great unmentionables. But there is hope. To bring depression out of the shadows, we just need to talk about it.

That’s where two complementary public health awareness campaigns come in — the first by the World Health Organization and the other by Kaiser Permanente. The WHO’s “Depression: Let’s Talk,” and Kaiser Permanente’s “Find Your Words,” focus on addressing and reducing stigma through conversation and dialogue.

Read more of this article here.