Kaiser Permanente leaders share success strategies and advice

Kaiser Permanente chairman Bernard Tyson recently spoke with Forbes about what's been called the "Kaiserfication" of healthcare, or rather, attempts by others to replicate Kaiser's success as an integrated hospital, physician and insurance organization that saw $53 billion in revenues last year.

Tyson counsels hospitals not to tell doctors how to practice. Though Kaiser runs 38 hospitals, it doesn't employ its 18,000 physicians but instead contracts with Permanente Medical Groups to provide care through capitated payments, the article noted.

Tyson stressed the importance of sharing data with doctors. "If you put good information in front of physicians," Tyson told Forbes, "they don't spent time debating whether or not the information is good.  They're willing to change behavior based on evidence of practices that are more effective in given populations and individuals."

But showing doctors data requires technology. Investing in this, Kaiser announced a partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine in Maryland to share electronic records and develop new technology for home healthcare programs. And Kaiser recently opened a hospital in Oakland that offers interactive boards to allow patients to communicate with staff, FierceHealthcare previously reported. 

Kaiser's emphasis on technology was apparent in an exclusive FierceHealthPayer interview with Jack Cochran, M.D., executive director of the Permanente Federation. "We developed a culture that embraces data, acknowledgment, learning and improvement," Cochran said. "We have a culture that measures and compares data across the board. We put tools in place to measure what is important to delivering care. We reward transparency and find ways to improve."  

Cochran went on to describe Kaiser's commitment to value-based care, which flows from an intention to take care of the population by integrating primary care and delivery.  

Finally, Tyson advised organizations to think carefully before choosing to become health insurers. Obstacles in the path of success, he noted, include a tangle of new regulations, the need for a "critical mass" of patients, the need to cover expensive new drugs and competing financial interests of stakeholders.

For more:
- here's the Forbes article