Kaiser's Technology Rx
Kaiser Permanente is using the Net to improve healthcare while cutting costs
DRUG PRICE CONTROL
Problem: Prescription drug costs are rising 19% annually.
Solution: Kaiser's in-house intranet suggests cheaper drug alternatives or less dangerous medications to doctors who prescribe drugs to patients.
Payoff: Drug costs have dropped 20% at some clinics, legal costs are down, and incorrect prescriptions have been reduced.
CAPS ON DOCTOR BILLS
Problem: Fees for services vary widely across the nation.
Solution: The company's physician-care network taps into a database that suggests standard treatments aimed at containing excessive charges.
Payoff: Healthcare costs have been reduced by 5% to 19% across Kaiser's operations.
Problem: Between 10% and 15% of patient tests must be repeated because of lost or misread records.
Solution: Kaiser creates digital records that can easily be accessed by authorized medical personnel.
Payoff: Duplicate tests have been virtually eliminated in some clinics, for a cost-savings of about $1 million in Kaiser's Northwest unit last year.
Problem: Emergency-room visits, among the costliest in the system, are on the rise.
Solution: A digital medical records system is deployed in a Colorado pilot project.
Payoff: The number of emergency-room visits handled through Kaiser's Colorado region decreased by 5% to 10% last year, saving the company millions.