For this reason, Kaiser Permanente network makes use of patient portal so that care and education for the patients is well coordinated – more so those suffering from diabetes. The whole process is not geared around just getting the data and analyzing it. The network has been featured countless times due to its ability to use technology to encourage patient engagement while providing care to them.

A former executive medical director of the Colorado Permanente Medical Group from 2007-2015, William Wright, M.D., M.S.P.H, finished a family residency at St. Joseph Hospital in Denver. He has always insisted on the importance of patient participation, calling it the future blockbuster drug.

In a recent interview on how the network is utilizing technology to help primary care physicians and patients, William Wright had a lot to share.

Why Kaiser focuses on individual patient outcomes

Different insurers have placed much attention on health statistics, but Kaiser’s focus is on the outcomes of individual patient. The reason for this is that the past 5 to 10 years have seen patients begin making their own decisions. Secondly, copays and coinsurance introduced by Kaiser and other insurers takes more money from the patients. It is important to have a one-on-one engagement with them, just like consumers.

This is a system that is suitable for the patients who are not required to visit the office. It also suits well the patients whom a relationship has already been established or whose problem is already diagnosed. The portal has a personal action plan that notifies the patients who require an A1C. It tells them on the next action and the importance of the test. This teaches the patients on how they can manage their disease without the office calling them.

The doctor on the other hand is able to bulk-order common tests such as Pap smears, A1C, immunizations and tobacco cessation tools. Handling tests in this manner makes the schedule available for other people, thus bringing in more people. The ultimate goal is close the care gaps and provide better health.

How can patients be enticed to consistently use the portal?

The female seniors adopt quickly. The grandparents are frequent Facebook users from where they view grandchildren photos. They also do online banking. Whenever the patients visit the offices, they are informed that the results will reflect on their EHR.

They can also be provided with information regarding their prescriptions. Rather than just giving them a book, they can get information about low back exercises as a prescription. Once they get to see their HER, they will have lab results, doctor’s notes and after-visit summaries.

Some doctors live by the fear that using a portal makes it possible for some patients to keep on contacting them. That is true because once some patients get their lab results; they will want some further explanation. But at times the doctors can be outweighed by patients who pester them daily.

The new era in patient engagement needs to refresh your skills. Physicians who are progressive managed to learn to carry a laptop or tablet in the exam room. Adapting physicians should use technology not as though it’s an intruder but a facilitator. The millennial are finding it easy to adopt because they practiced medicine after having interacted with technology.

Kaiser provides training to the physicians on how they can utilize the technology in the exam room positively. It is possible to carry out a cardio risk calculator together with the patient while looking at the screen. One can also use the same risk calculator when it comes to smoking cessation.