Last Tuesday, Adam Cancilla spoke with New Media students about his role at Kaiser Permanente as Business Technology Analyst, i.e. “Innovation Hunter.” He says new media and technology are changing the healthcare industry and will continue to do so into the future. Kaiser’s chief aim as a non-profit organization is to make better use of patients’ time, money and medical needs. To do this, Adam finds the latest technology and incorporates it into KP’s model, making processes and meetings more efficient, compact and convenient.
Some of the new technologies they are implementing involve switching to digital charts and records to keep track of patients’ previous visits. EMRs are the new focus in healthcare. Medical Students now learn how to use electronic records. Patients may forget past records, shots and surgeries, but computer data can account for human error in memory. This also cuts patients’ time because they do not have to stay to perform tests that have already been done. This system aids doctors as well, in that they can see everything in past records, which takes the guess work out of providing care. Currently, there are four EMR groups. They are HPA compliant and FDA certified, and probably well on their way to standardization.
KP is also beginning to use “Nurse Chats” as a part of their Telehealth program which would allow patients to instantly communicate over video feed with specialists that are not necessarily in their area. The peripherals allow the consulting physician to check blood pressure, as well as see inside ears, nose, throat, etc. in a vivid, 3D visual. This technology minimizes patient’s costs and time. It’s all part of their new Thrive campaign which is designed to keep patients healthy in order to keep them out of the hospital. When KP conducted their video ethnography, they found that both young and old patients preferred video visits rather than physical visits.
Now Kaiser even has CPCDs (chronic population control devices), which enable those with chronic heart failure and diabetes to be remotely monitored by doctors. They can prick the patient’s finger and send the blood to a doctor just through an iPhone. Other apps and devices have been developed which can send information to the doctor through the iPhone as well.
Adam says, “Wellness is becoming too much like business and politics – and that’s not what healthcare should be.”