How tech is transforming health care

New Kaiser Permanente book reveals how to transform health care tech, leadership and education.

Technology continues to dramatically propel us into a new era of care delivery. Innovations such as electronic health records (EHR), mobile health, telemedicine, telehealth and data mining enable us to have well-integrated information conveniently available at every point of care, allowing for improved efficiencies throughout the system. We are now finally beginning to see the impact these changes are going to have on our industry. A recent analysis found that physician adoption of EHRs is projected to rise exponentially with more than 550,000 physicians in the United States expected to adopt the technology this year alone.

In a newly released book, Transforming Health Care: The Financial Impact of Technology, Electronic Tools and Data Mining , Kaiser Permanente’s Chief Information Officer Phil Fasano illustrates why this is the right time for health care leaders to embrace information technology to improve the patient experience, as well as quality, affordability and access.
For example, many diabetics are required to take blood tests multiple times per day with a device they carry in their pocket. But technological advances have made it possible for these patients to use a clinical device that plugs into their smartphone and tests their blood in a way that is less invasive and provides more immediate feedback about their condition. This data can also be tied to their EHRs or to a health coaching app that can make recommendations about eating habits and when to take insulin. In this way, technology has transformed the way diabetics care for their conditions by integrating all the tools they need into devices they already carry.

At Kaiser Permanente, our members play an active role in their care management. More than two million of our members use our mobile capabilities to email their providers, check lab test results, order prescription refills, manage appointments and more.

So, what can we expect over the next several years?

The traditional boundaries between marketing and IT functions are blurring. At Kaiser Permanente a significant share of our organization’s brand is being delivered through technology, and the medium is now the message: we can support your health care needs when and where you need it most. With the rise of digital consumers, we see technology-enabled services enhancing communication between patients and care teams throughout their Kaiser Permanente experience.

Health care practitioners will need to adapt as consumers continue to need easier, convenient, and more personalized care. The next wave of health care transformation is going to involve advanced analytics that are focused on personalizing the patient experience, and technology will play a large role in providing high-quality care to patients. Solutions such as coaching apps will allow patients to reach their own health aspirations in a whole new and empowered way. The larger industry must understand how advanced technologies can benefit care, reduce health care costs and be easily adopted. By leveraging tools like EHRs, mobile devices, telemedicine and telehealth, we can truly transform the state of health care.

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