Halvorson noted that 80% of the cost of care comes from patients with co-morbidities. “Part of what we do is focus on team care for our patients,” he said.
And the team approach requires connectivity.
The health system now has 10 million medical records computerized. It has also developed an electronic medical library to keep clinicians up to date with real-time peer-reviewed research.
And it is its own laboratory. Prior to collecting data, Halverson said, all of its facilities thought they were doing the best they could to treat sepsis—but some had as many as a third of patients dying. New measures allowed the system to cut its sepsis death rate in half, under 5%.
“If you don't have the data, you can't make improvements,” he said.
Patients also have access to their own data—with medical records, lab results and prescriptions all available online. “We made the decision to send the results to the doctor and the patient simultaneously,” he said.
While Halverson opened his presentation by saying that “it doesn't matter what the Supreme Court does,” he later noted that the U.S. healthcare model is not delivering bang for its buck.
“We need universal coverage—we need to figure out how to get to universal coverage,” he said in response to a question. “It would really be a shame to have a dual system.”
He also gave a nod to accountable care organizations, noting that Kaiser's costs typically run 10% to 15% below its competitors. “Anyone who goes down that path (of ACOs) is going to come out with a lower cost for that population,” he said. “There's a lot of low-hanging fruit in that space.”
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