The head of Kaiser Permanente’s Innovation Centre has urged NHS professionals engaged in health IT implementations to ‘keep the faith’, as the benefits to patient care are worth the effort.

In an exclusive video interview broadcast today on EHI TV, Dr Yan Chow of leading US healthcare network Kaiser Permanente tells EHI editor Jon Hoeksma, how KP has just completed a seven year $4 billion implementation of electronic medical records that is already proving transformational.


Dr Chow, the director of innovation and advanced technology, Kaiser Permenente Information Technology, says that his organisation has completed the roll-out of EMRs in the last few weeks and already has hundreds of published studies showing the benefits to the quality of patient care, patient experience and delivery of services.

Alongside the main EMR KP has, implemented a highly successful personal health record, linked to the EMR and providing the transactional tools patients most want to use. The KP PHR is being use by a third of its 9m patients. “The PHR is now actively being used by 3m patients to order prescriptions, book appointments and view test results,” said Dr Chow.

As a result, the organisation is recording a significant drop in patient physician-office visits. “It’s about giving patients the tools they want to use,” said Dr Chow.

But although KP is now reaping the benefits Dr Chow says that its been a difficult road, requiring different approaches for the different types of clinics and hospitals within KP and constantly ensuring clinician buy-in. “We’ve thousands of clinicians and every single one thinks they’re the CEO,” he jokes.

Interviewed in EHI’s London offices following a three day conference with NHS counterparts in Torquay, Dr Chow says that healthcare is essentially “an information industry”, and that the process of digitisation entailed in putting in an EMR is “an essential foundation layer”.

Only once this is in place can you really begin to measure and improve performance and focus on outcomes in a systematic way, he tells EHI TV.

The sheer volumes of data now being captured and analysed by Kaiser are staggering. “We’re now capturing over a terabyte of data a day. That has huge value for research.”

For all of these reasons Dr Chow urges NHS counterparts facing brickbats or struggling to reach daylight on their IT implementations to “keep the faith”.


Watch the full interview here.


Kaiser Permanente