#futurehealth – Innovating in communication in health care, from “outcome measures” to “saving lives”

Yesterday was the successful (in my opinion) DC Health Innovation Summit , and as part of it I was honored to give a brief tour of the innovations showcased in the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health with Marilyn Chow, DNSc, RN, fAAN, Vice President of Patient Care Services

One of those innovations is the Complete Care program,  which touches the patient, before, during, after, and in between visits.

At one point in the talk I referred to innovation in communication around prevention. I think this is important, because as I have learned recently from the Doblin Group, there is more than one type of innovation, and in health care, people typically think about innovating by creating new “products.” If you look at the ten types of innovation, there are many more possibilities.

I showed this video of the patient story:

The key point is that 2/3 of the time that a patient touches the medical care system with a prevention care gap like mammography, they are presenting in a specialists’ office. In most of health care, specialists do not address these gaps, so opportunities are lost. The innovation as you can see in the video is that every member of the care team, including receptionists, medical assistants, and specialists, are involved in primary care. This saves lives, and the patients recognize this. They don’t relate to “we met our HEDIS goal this year”.

You can see a photo of the button that they wear and give out in this blog post.

This is just one part of a very comprehensive program that includes compassion and innovation across the health care spectrum. This part is called “Proactive Office Encounter,” you can read about it here.

Saving lives” is not the core principle, it is just an example of innovating in health care that goes beyond creating a new product.

Check out this tweet from my colleague Jeff Benabio, MD (@dermdoc), who is a Southern California Permanente Medical Group dermatologist – it shows that the culture is changed and specialists understand and celebrate their role in primary care.

PS, the person who represented this work on behalf of Southern California Permanente Medical Group is Kristen Andrews , Regional Proactive Care Group Lead, and she’s now on Twitter ( @ldsklandrews ).
Saving Lives One at a Time - Proactive Office Encounter


So excited to see the Mary Gonzales video posted! We need to find more ways share transformational message of focusing on Complete Care instead of chief complaints and chronic conditions. Kaiser Permanente SCAL (and now other KP regions) have used EMR innovations and systematic processes to engage our members as active participants in THEIR health care. As Gail Lindsay stated, "Complete Care is the ONE thing we do which focuses completely on the member". We not only have the ability to activate all members of our health care teams, we have a RESPONSIBILITY to ensure they receive complete care at every encounter, at every visit, every time. As you mentioned, our care teams expand beyond the clinical setting into the reception areas and now… launched just two weeks ago – we have implemented Proactive Care in our Call Centers! We have delivered a message to our members – Kaiser Permanente knows YOU as an individual, not a medical record number. Our patients matter to us.

Thank you Ted for helping us share our story. (let me know how you like the new video.)

Dear Kristen,

You know I love it when I write a blog post about someone else's work whom I admire and they take the time to add their experience and passion to it, so thank you!

I watched the video and I of course liked it. There are so many patients out there who can be reached by patient stories, so in my opinion there can be no limit to how many patient stories we make available. As I mentioned in this post about my experience with a group of Kaiser Permanente patients who participated on a panel, in this era of HIPAA and privacy protection (very important to us), they surprise and impress in their desire to share their experiences; they are gifts to the people who care for them and those who will come after them,


Ted Eytan, MD