Kaiser goes mobile with 9 million strong

By Bernie Monegain
10:12 AM

Nine million Kaiser Permanente patients can now access their own medical information anywhere in the world on mobile devices through a mobile-optimized website, Kaiser executives announced today.

Kaiser Permanente has released a new app for Android devices, and users of other mobile devices, including the iPhone. The app provides full access to the patient information that resides on the Kaiser Permanente health record system with the mobile-optimized version of kp.org. An additional app for iPhone will be released in the coming months, but iPhone users can easily download a shortcut icon onto their home screens that will take them directly to the mobile-friendly kp.org with a touch of the finger, Kaiser officials said.

In 2011 alone, more than 68 million lab test results were made available online to Kaiser Permanente patients. The mobile-optimized site and the new app make that information, and much more, securely available at members' fingertips, according to Kaiser.

Kaiser Permanente patients will have 24/7 access to lab results, diagnostic information, direct and secure email access to their doctors, and will also be able to order prescription refills. Kaiser Permanente patients have been able to email their doctors for five years, with more than 12 million e-visits in 2011 alone. Kaiser Permanente expects that number to increase significantly with the new app and mobile-optimized site.

The Android app is available now in the Android Market at no charge. Users of other mobile devices can access the same set of care-support tools at no charge through the new secure, mobile-optimized member website, which is available through smart-phone Internet browsers.

With the new offering, Kaiser Permanente patients have 24/7 access from their mobile devices to view their secure personal health record, email their doctors, schedule appointments, refill prescriptions and locate Kaiser Permanente medical facilities. Members who have the ability to act on behalf of a family member on kp.org now can accomplish the same tasks. Those caring for an elderly parent or someone with a chronic condition can now more easily check lab results, refill prescriptions and communicate with the doctor's office on behalf of the patient.

"This is the future of healthcare,” said George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. “Healthcare needs to be connected to be all that it can be. This new level of connectivity is happening real time, and it is happening on a larger scale than anything like it in the world. The fact that a Kaiser Permanente patient in an emergency room in Paris or Tokyo can simply pull out their mobile device and have immediate and current access to their own medical information is an evolutionary and revolutionary breakthrough for medical connectivity."
"Our members love our current connectivity tools," said Christine Paige, Kaiser's senior vice president of marketing and Internet services. "Now we will extend our entire connectivity toolkit for patients through a mobile phone. Our mobile-optimized site and app take connectivity to the next level by making the mobile experience easy and enjoyable. We believe that convenience, paired with a great user experience, will meet members' needs and will ultimately result in improved health and patient-physician relationships."

"Providing our patients with clear and convenient access to their health information is a step forward in connectivity and improving the healthcare experience for patients, no matter where they are," said Jack Cochran, MD, executive director of The Permanente Federation. "We already have complete connectivity among Kaiser Permanente care sites through Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect. This new level of connectivity extends the reach of information to our patients in a more convenient and user-friendly format.

This new app and mobile-optimized site is very good for patient care and will revolutionize connectivity by bringing healthcare for the first time to the level of connectivity other parts of our economy have achieved."
Users' personal health information is safe and secure while using the new app and the mobile-friendly kp.org, officials say. The mobile connection employs the same security safeguards that protect patient information on the traditional kp.org website, including secure sign-on and automatic sign-out after a period of inactivity.
"The benefits of mobile extend beyond member engagement," said Philip Fasano, executive vice president and CIO of Kaiser Permanente. "Mobile solutions can have a positive impact on health. Healthcare, itself, will be much more convenient for many people. The mobile-friendly site and app are also a springboard for new innovations that will inspire members to be aware of their health and take steps to improve it."

This is a major new connectivity offering, but it is not Kaiser Permanente's first mobile app. Other, more targeted, tools were released earlier. Kaiser Permanente launched its first mobile application, KP Locator for iPhone, in July 2011. The facility-finder app has been downloaded 42,000 times. KP Locator combines the power of kp.org's facility directory and the iPhone's GPS capabilities to make searching for Kaiser Permanente facilities easier for patients on the go.

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