Shadowing in the paperless, mobile-accessible practice of Sharman Reed, MD, at Kaiser Permanente Colorado

Sharman Reed, MD, OB/Gyn Physician, Colorado Permanente Medical group

I realized while shadowing Sharman Reed, MD, an OB/Gyn in the Colorado Permanente Medical Group that physicians are going to have to change their scripting in the era of mobile.

Instead of asking, “Would you like me to e-mail you or call you with your results?”, which they’ve been doing for several years already, now they may have to ask, “Which method of delivery to your cell phone would you like?”

That’s because since January, 2012, Kaiser Permanente physicians are available via the web, mobile web, and dedicated apps on their smartphones (you can download the iPhone app here). A look at the data shows that 16 % of all accesses to My Health Manager are now happening via mobile devices.

I came to shadow Sharman because she’s a participant in the 2012 class of Medicine and Management (see: You haven’t been to Kaiser Permanente if you think everything’s been invented – Innovation Retreat 2012 | Ted Eytan, MD which includes information about this course), sponsored by 6 Permanente Medical Groups, including her medical group, Colorado Permanente Medical Group (CPMG).

We scheduled the session at her medical office, in Aurora, Colorado, several weeks before the national tragedy that happened just minutes from where she practices. What I saw when I was there, though, is that the need for high quality health care in the community continues on.

Sharman’s practice style is what she calls (and what I observed as)  “bringing a sense of calm” to health care. And this is not just because she poured me a cup of chamomile mango herbal tea.

She is from the generation of physicians who transitioned to the comprehensive electronic health record (KP HealthConnect) that Kaiser Permanente uses, and has adopted the best practices of physicians in a post-EHR organization.

For example, she reviews information in the chart before she sees the patient, quickly locates any historical information and can tell instantly if any preventive care is needed,  provides an after visit summary for every patient, and completes documentation at the same time. She makes the use of the EHR look very natural in the flow of a visit that doesn’t appear rushed. She also does a morning huddle with her team, which also contributes to the calm, by anticipating any issues that might crop up during the day.

I wondered about behavior change in the treatment of obesity in her practice. She said this is very relevant, especially in the management of estrogen-sensitive conditions, including polycystic ovary syndrome, fibroids, menorrhagia, and cancer (breast, endometrial, ovarian) (this is because fat tissue promotes the creation of estrogens that are less healthy – “not of the loving kind,” she says).

Sharman told me that the Kaiser Permanente Colorado region just completed its latest upgrade of the system and she’s seen a new feature that’s near and dear to many hearts here – Exercise as a Vital Sign (EVS for short). This innovation is continuing its adoption across the country in the Kaiser Permanente system ( you can read more about exercise as a vital sign here  ) and I think it will spark important conversations. 

I am shadowing as part of this course to bring physician as “healer, leader, partner,” to life, and to respect the skills of our participants (there are 42 this year) on a deeper level. It’s a big investment for a health system to make, it’s a gift from the members, staff, and physicians to support it, and  a great asset to the members, and society when it’s completed.

Session 3 will be hosted by Group Health Physicians in Seattle in September, the first time they have ever hosted a session of this program. I’ll be shadowing a great physician leader there as well. If you’re interesting in shadowing, I highly recommend the PFCC Partners at UPMC Shadowing Toolkit.

Thanks to the members, staff, Dr. Reed, and Colorado Permanente Medical Group for hosting me and supporting physician leadership.


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Ted Eytan, MD