Kaiser CIO: Tech and high-quality care go hand in hand

Kaiser Permanente's mission is to deliver high-quality and affordable care--and that can't be done without effective use of technology, says Dick Daniels, Kaiser's executive vice president and chief information officer.

Through innovation, the healthcare organization aims to make technology easier to use and more convenient in order to reach care goals, he tells Healthcare IT News. Initiatives include digitizing membership cards, creating express check-ins for appointments and allowing patients to use videoconferencing to contact caregivers from mobile phones and hospital beds, Daniels says.

Lyle Berkowitz, M.D., said in a recent blog post that innovation in the healthcare space should move forward using the IT capabilities already in play.

Consumerization also represents a large focus right now for Kaiser, Daniels says. The organization provides tools that are easier to access for consumers, especially when it comes to mobile care. This includes bringing in patient data from wearables such as Jawbone and Fitbit.

Kaiser is also growing its IT force. The organization is creating about 900 tech jobs in Atlanta over the next four years, along with a new 157,000-square-foot IT campus in the city, FierceHealthIT previously reported.

However, Daniels says Kaiser faces challenges in its innovation efforts, with interoperability toward the top of the list. There is more work that needs to be done in that space, he says.

"We need the ability to come up with some common standards so the entire healthcare ecosystem can enable vendors to bring us products that work together with other vendor products," he says.

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