Kaiser Permanente case studies show how health care happens

Health care leaders wondering how to connect policy with practice can take a cue from Kaiser Permanente’s growing bank of lessons.

The Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy provides a valuable resource for policymakers and health system leaders: a series of short papers called Kaiser Permanente Policy Stories. The stories document the plan’s current and ongoing successes in quality, efficiency and community health. Each two-page case study describes the policy context, specific challenges and Kaiser Permanente’s solution, followed by measured outcomes and practical implications.

A recent piece describes Kaiser Permanente Georgia’s response to the demand for elder-focused primaKaiser Permanente policy storyry care:

After holding meetings with multiple stakeholders, Kaiser Permanente Georgia developed a new type of office appointment, leveraging existing primary care physicians to deliver more comprehensive care to older patients. This new appointment model extends the traditional 20-minute primary care visit to 40 minutes, giving physicians and patients more time to discuss health issues. Before the exam, patients fill out a health assessment questionnaire in the waiting room or with a nurse, making it easier for physicians to address unique health issues during the appointment. During the visit, physicians use a template in the electronic health record to guide them through a set of elder-focused care elements.

Between 2010 and 2012 Georgia saw:

•reduced use of pharmaceuticals that are contraindicated for older adults with dementia or a history of falls;

• improvements in fall risk management; and,

•improvements in osteoporosis testing overall and in osteoporosis management in women who had a fracture.

Other stories outline steps toward community-based prevention, clinical guidelines, walking programs and smoking cessation. The collection is energizing, accessible and further evidence that Kaiser Permanente’s innovations benefit entire communities.

Kaiser Permanente Policy Stories here.


-Sophie Schwadron