Kaiser, VHA form partnership

Kaiser Permanente and the Veterans Health Administration have partnered to research and share best practices.

Officials for the two organizations say they will focus on four areas of healthcare: connected health and virtual care, genomics, the care of veterans who are also Kaiser members, and analytics. The goal is to leverage innovative uses of big data and population management.

Jed Weissberg, MD, Kaiser Permanente’s senior vice president said in a prepared statement that part of the agreement calls for “looking at partnerships and investing in new ideas and technologies” to improve care, patient engagement and outcomes.

The VA has long made use of mHealth tools and services for everything from treating service members oversees to connecting with them and veterans when they get back home. This includes an ongoing, yearlong pilot in which roughly 1,000 seriously injured veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are using iPads pre-loaded with healthcare apps to connect to caregivers and the VA network.

Kaiser Permanente, a California-based integrated healthcare network – the nation’s largest – serves some 9 million members in eight states. Those nine million members can access Kaiser services on mobile devices thanks to KP Locator, one of several apps in a growing mHealth program.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs continuously seeks opportunities for collaboration with the private sector and the Department of Defense to enhance care for veterans,” said Madhulika Agarwal, MD, the VA’s deputy undersecretary for health for policy and services, in the release. “Together we will focus on enhanced coordination of care for our veteran patients, connected healthcare as well as analytics and genomic medicine.”

The two organizations joined forces in 2010 to exchange medical data through the then-year-old Nationwide Health Information Network. That collaboration has morphed into the VA Exchange, which s now available at 121 VA hospitals around the country and through 14 private partners.

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