July 1, 2020

A breakout moment for virtual care

Kaiser Permanente’s fully integrated telehealth capabilities place quality and safety at the center of each visit.

Kaiser Permanente conducts more than 40,000 video visits on average each weekday.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaiser Permanente’s telehealth capabilities have made it easy for our members to stay home and receive quality primary and specialty care. Members can schedule a video or phone visit with their clinician, or securely email their doctor with questions about their ongoing care needs. They can complete online physical therapy programs, chat online with a clinician in many areas, or complete an e-visit to receive a fully personalized online care plan.   

These robust telehealth capabilities have allowed Kaiser Permanente to continue to deliver time-sensitive care virtually. More than 80% of our appointments were conducted by phone or video during April 2020 compared to 15% prior to the pandemic, and video visits continue to set new records with more than 40,000 visits on average each weekday. Even better, as we’ve expanded, our telehealth options have received 5-star reviews from our members:

  • “Honestly, a wonderful experience. This was my FIRST video visit and I am really impressed.”
  • “I was able to send pictures and got the medication I needed ... [My physician] made me feel informed and safe. What a great experience.”
  • “My primary physician called me as planned — like an appointment at Kaiser [Permanente]. She asked lots of questions and offered options and choices, just like she always does in the exam room. She concluded with a clear understanding of our conversation and summarized my follow-up. I felt confident that, even during this trying time of global health concerns, my personal pain was still her concern.”

Virtual first

As Kaiser Permanente gradually welcomes patients back to our facilities, telehealth continues to enable members to get great care from home if they wish. Virtual care is not only convenient and efficient, it helps protect members, patients, doctors, nurses, and staff. It reinforces social distancing protocols and helps save critical personal protective equipment for those who need it most.

As virtual care accelerates across the health care industry, some providers may be using third-party vendors or launching new apps. In contrast, Kaiser Permanente members are benefiting from decades of active investment and innovation not only in technology but in the telehealth experience — research indicates that 89% of members who complete a visit are interested in another — and in the safety, quality, and effectiveness of care we deliver virtually.

Delivering the full care experience

Kaiser Permanente’s telehealth services are fully integrated into Kaiser Permanente’s electronic health record. During telehealth appointments, Kaiser Permanente clinicians have immediate and secure access to a complete picture of the patient and can prescribe medications, order lab tests and imaging, or put in a referral to connect the patient directly with other needed care.

For members, this enables a consistent patient experience and coordinated care during and after the visit. The result is high-quality, evidence-based care that is centered around each member, based on what he or she needs.

Integration is also key to Kaiser Permanente’s remote monitoring capabilities, including glucose monitoring for diabetes, blood pressure monitoring for high blood pressure, and virtual cardiac monitoring through wearable devices for patients who are recovering from heart attacks. Data from remote monitoring is sent directly into the electronic health record where it is immediately available to clinicians, playing a critical role in chronic disease management and recovery for at-risk patients.

“Kaiser Permanente is driving the future of health with fully integrated telehealth capabilities that enhance the patient experience, improve outcomes, and expand access to both routine and life-saving care,” said Arthur M. Southam, MD, executive vice president, health plan operations, and chief growth officer for Kaiser Permanente. “We are uniquely positioned to meet the challenges presented by COVID-19 — and to continue to lead a new paradigm for health care that seamlessly blends virtual and in-person care to support total health.”


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