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HL20: George Halvorson—Expectations for Success

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, December 11, 2013

All Kaiser providers can also pull patient medical records up on their smartphones, "wherever they are in the world," and Kaiser experts comb through medical journals for best practices to make decision tools available electronically as well.

"We're way ahead. Most doctors in the world would kill for this system."

Now the federal government is trying to follow Kaiser's lead with the creation of the meaningful use incentive program to promote electronic health records throughout the country's healthcare delivery systems, Halvorson says.

Halvorson says that massive amount of data has given Kaiser a way to understand the quality of care, enabling it to create a culture of continuous improvement. By learning where problems occur, the system makes changes.

"You don't ever get to a point and declare victory," he says.

"We dropped the death rate for sepsis to 20%, and then 15%, then 10% and it's now less than 10%. The rest of the country averages more than 5% of patients getting pressure ulcers—painful, disfiguring, and sometimes fatal—but we got ours to 1% across three dozen hospitals. And we have the lowest stroke rates and lowest HIV death rates in the country, half the national average."

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