Connected Care is Better Care

Dr. Robert Pearl, CEO of The Permanente Medical Group (Photo courtesy Health Affairs)

Dr. Robert Pearl, CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, speaks at Health Affairs briefing on Feb. 4. (Photo courtesy Health Affairs)

“Connected care” is gaining more momentum in the health care industry.  Health care providers are adopting electronic health records with federal support and standard setting. Consumer electronics makers and applications developers are offering more tools and devices for consumers to track and manage their health.  Patients have more options for accessing care and information, and communicating with care teams.

On February 4 in Washington, DC, Dr. Robert Pearl, CEO of The Permanente Medical Group, shared Kaiser Permanente’s experience as a leader bringing electronic tools to its 3.4 million Northern California members in a discussion sponsored by the journal Health Affairs.   Here is Dr. Pearl’s article in the recent issue and a video recording of the event and slides.

Dr. Pearl shared his optimism that health care is poised to be transformed by electronic technology in ways similar to the retail, travel, and finance sectors. He also noted some barriers in the way, including a predominantly “fee-for-service” payment model that fails to incentivize non face-to-face care or investments in information systems geared to prevention and care coordination. “We can’t just lay technology on the current system,” Dr. Pearl noted. He cited new payment models such as ACOs, the growing popularity of Medicare Advantage and its “5 Stars” quality incentives, and hospital readmission penalties as all providing momentum for changing behavior of physicians and other parts of the health care system.

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