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Permanente physicians embrace telehealth

March 22, 2018

We’re looking to the future.

The Permanente Federation, which represents the national interests of the eight physician-led Permanente Medical Groups that provide care exclusively to Kaiser Permanente patients, has published a forward-looking roundup of technological advances that, if successful, will come to all of Kaiser Permanente over the new few years.

One, called KPATHS, is a sophisticated application that will be used by call center agents to help KP members book appointments, message clinicians, or get nurse advice. Currently, clinician background information is kept in a variety of files and often is segmented by service area. With KPATHS, the information will be at the fingertips of the telephone representative.

Another, called Clinician Connect, is an app that allows doctors to easily access a database of on-call specialists and then either call or text the colleague from the app. Physicians can quickly get a consultation—often while the patient is still there—so that the right care can be provided sooner.

There are many innovative telehealth products today, but Patricia Conolly, MD, executive vice president and chief information officer at The Permanente Federation, says it’s important for a large organization such as Kaiser Permanente to determine the value each brings to patient care. Sometimes the simpler technology may be better, she says.

“There needs to be a balance of keeping our eyes open to what’s new and cool and potentially disruptive,” she says, “with what kind of things we can successfully implement and utilize consistently to make a difference.”

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