“I think one of the reasons people are comfortable going down this path is because they saw us make use of the data,” Halvorson said. Kaiser's combination of data analytics and culture of continuous improvement has had to higher cancer survival rates and lower incidences of bed sores and other adverse events, he said.
Another lasting influence will be Kaiser's long-time concern with the environment and its recent announcement that all its new hospitals and major construction projects will meet the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification standards for environmentally friendly construction and operation. “We only have one planet, and we should take good care of it,” Halvorson said.
He has yet to give up his KP chairman title to Kaiser's new CEO Bernard Tyson. But Halvorson is already expanding his influence beyond healthcare and has accepted a four-year appointment as chairman of the First 5 California Commission, a state-run entity aiming to develop community-based early childhood education programs focusing on the first five years of a child's life.
“Those years are absolutely critical,” said Halvorson. “If you do the right things in those years, they have a much a greater chance at success in life.”
He explained that studies have indicated that kindergarten vocabulary and third-grade reading levels are a predictor of future academic achievement.
Halvorson said he's already taken the commission's agenda to healthcare meetings to spread the message that “mothers need to know at birth there are steps they can take to improve their child's ability to learn.”
But that's not all he will be doing. In January, Halvorson said he will form an institute to work on racial prejudice and ethnic conflict and to explore what can be done to improve understanding and relationships between different groups. “I think our country is at a point where we really need that work,” he said.
Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks