Hospitals target nutrition, other social needs to boost health

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nirav shah

Kaiser Permanente’s Nirav Shah, MD, MPH, spoke with USA Today about the social determinants of health, and shared some of Kaiser Permanente’s efforts to improve the health of its members most in need.

Dr. Shah, a former New York state commissioner of health, is senior vice president and chief operating officer for clinical operations for Kaiser Permanente Southern California.

In Southern California, Dr. Shah is working with the non-profit Health Leads to “fundamentally redefine what counts as health care” by helping to coordinate social needs hospitals don’t typically focus upon.

To read the full story, click here.

Connected Care is Better Care

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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. Read More

HEALTH NEWS: Data Altruism — Kaiser Permanente Participates in IOM Discussion Paper

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A recent discussion paper, presented by participants of the Institute of Medicine Evidence Communication Innovation Collaborative (ECIC), found that 94 percent of U.S. adult social media users with health conditions agreed with the use of their health data – shared anonymously – to help clinicians improve care. ECIC is co-chaired by Bill Novelli and Kaiser Permanente’s former CEO, George Halvorson.

The report found that the vast majority of U.S. adult social media users with health conditions strongly endorse sharing their health data anonymously to help improve care they and future patients receive, as well as to strengthen health care. The paper titled, Social Networking Sites and the Continuously Learning Health System: A Survey, was released today by The Institute of Medicine (IOM).

For more on this story, click the ‘Read More’ button below. Read More

This Year at the World Economic Forum: Hyperconnectivity and Personal Data

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At a time when the news is saturated by coverage of the challenges related to data privacy and security, world leaders will be exploring the topic of hyperconnectivity during the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 22 – 25.

In the following video promoting the WEF, Raymond J. Baxter, senior vice president for Kaiser Permanente, joins other business leaders to talk about worldwide hyperconnectivity of information and personal data.

While there is a heightened debate around privacy and the use of personal data, Baxter points out the reality of our current situation.

“We can’t put the genie back in the bottle,” says Baxter in the video. “Our information is out there. What we’ve got to learn are what are the social conventions and legal conventions that we are all going to have to adopt in order to retain our dignity and our privacy and our autonomy. And that’s what the World Economic Forum is good at is providing a platform to bring all of those different actors together to try to reach some solutions to some very important problems.”

In a WEF blog post he authored in January 2013, Baxter discussed the benefits that can result when personal data goes beyond what it was originally intended for and is used for broad social purposes.

“For example, medical researchers at Kaiser Permanente using a robust database taken from the personal medical records of related family members, from 1995 through 2002, demonstrated that children who were prenatally exposed to mothers who used antidepressants had more than twice the risk of developing autism spectrum disorders. By discovering this correlation and leveraging data in new ways, lives are improved.”

In the same blog post, Baxter makes the point that it is how the personal data is used, and how the individual is informed, that will make the critical difference moving forward.

“New approaches are needed that help individuals to understand how and when data is being collected, how the data is being used and the implications of those actions. Simplicity, efficacy and usability should lie at the heart of the relationship between individuals and the data generated by and about them. Organizations of all types need to engage and empower individuals more effectively so that better choice and control can be delivered. Trust needs to be earned.”

Baxter will once again be posting to the WEF blog this year. We will post and link to it when it is published. More coverage on Davos in the coming week. Stay tuned!