The Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine is scheduled to enroll its first students in 2019. It hopes to attract minority students to better reflect the state's ethnically diverse population.
Kaiser Permanente has chosen Pasadena as the site of its first medical school that it said will open in 2019 and take an unconventional approach to medical training.
Kaiser officials said a groundbreaking for the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine is scheduled for 2017 and that it plans to have its first class of 40 to 50 students enroll in 2019. There are currently no details on how large the school will be or the cost for tuition.
“We are designing a curriculum focused on providing high-quality, patient-centered care in both traditional and non-traditional settings, with an emphasis on collaboration and teamwork,” said Edward M. Ellison, MD, executive medical director of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group. “Patient engagement, shared decision-making, and evidence-based practice will be the core of the curriculum design.”
When Kaiser first announced plans to open a medical school in December 2015, Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson said that “influencing physician education is based on our belief that new models of care mean we must re-imagine how physicians are trained.” Training is expected to reflect Kaiser’s emphasis on quickly adopting new technologies and improvements in patient care, population health, and preventive health.
Kaiser said it chose Pasadena, a city about 10 miles east of Los Angeles, because of its proximity to the Kaiser Permanente Pasadena Medical Office complex and to Kaiser hospitals in the Los Angeles area where students will have their residencies.
Kaiser said it hopes to attract more minority students to its medical school to better reflect the state’s ethnically diverse population. According to a 2012 California HealthCare Foundation study, only 5% of California physicians are Hispanic even though the state’s population is nearly 40% Hispanic. Kaiser said details on how it plans to recruit a more diverse student population will be released after it appoints a medical school dean.
Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, said Kaiser’s decision to open a medical school is likely a “classic example of the buy vs. make decision that firms face every day in the market” and should help produce the kind of physicians Kaiser wants.
“I don’t know if [Kaiser expects] many or most of their graduates to practice in Kaiser eventually,” said Kominski. “But if they do, they can train doctors to value an evidence-based, team approach to practicing medicine and influence their career paths from the beginning of their professional training.”
The new medical school should help the state address an expected shortage of primary care physicians. According to a 2016 report from the California Primary Care Association, the state will need to increase its primary care workforce by 32% by 2030, which will require adding 8,243 primary care physicians to keep pace with demand.
The study estimates that, due to limited capacity at state medical schools, California ranks 43rd in the nation at 17.8 medical school students per 100,000 residents. The study suggested that “an expansion in California medical school capacity could result in a much-needed increase in the physician supply.”
Physical breaches were still the dominant form of breach in healthcare, but "as the transition to electronic medical records continues, the healthcare sector will increasingly face the same challenges in securing digital data that other sectors have been grappling with for several years," according to the report.
Healthcare providers accounted for 16% of all data breaches in California last year and nearly one-quarter were the result of hacking and malware, according to a new report released in February.
The 2016 California Data Breach Report from the state Attorney General's Office found the healthcare sector was third only to retail (25%) and finance (18%) as the most vulnerable to breaches. The healthcare sector was also cited as doing a poor job of encrypting data that is often stolen in physical breaches, although it has improved its security in the past two years.
"The [healthcare] industry appears to be improving on its use of encryption to protect data on laptops and other portable devices, but there is still a long way to go in addressing this preventable type of breach," wrote state Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Physical breaches, such as lost or stolen computers and drives, were still the dominant form of breach in healthcare, accounting for 39% of all healthcare breaches in 2015 compared to just 13% in other business sectors. The report notes that "physical breaches have declined in healthcare the past two years," from a high of 72% of all healthcare sector breaches in 2013.
But the decline in physical breaches last year was offset by an increase in malware attacks and hacking, which accounted for 21% of data breaches in healthcare in 2015 compared to just 5% in 2013. The report suggests the trend is likely to continue as the healthcare industry transitions to electronic health records and the use of wireless portable devices.
"As the transition to electronic medical records continues, the healthcare sector will increasingly face the same challenges in securing digital data that other sectors have been grappling with for several years," the report stated. "Given the extreme sensitivity of data involved in healthcare breaches, this is a challenge that the industry must meet."
But meeting that challenge won't be easy. The report notes there are multiple ways for hackers to breach computer systems, including using phishing emails that implant a virus into servers when the email is opened by the recipient. The report makes a number of recommendations that include limiting employee access to emails and closely monitoring networks for things like stolen credentials, suspicious activity, and "brute force attacks" on passwords.
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) on February 18 introduced Senate Bill 1137, which would make attacks using a form of malware called "ransomware" a felony with fines and jail sentences similar to extortion. The bill was drafted in reaction to a ransomware attack at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in February that required hospital officials to pay a $17,000 'ransom' to regain access to its own computer system.
Healthcare providers accounted for two of the five largest breaches in California from 2012 to 2015. According to the report, the single largest breach was reported in 2015 by Anthem in an incident that exposed 10.5 million records. A breach reported by the UCLA Health System in 2015 was the fourth largest and affected nearly 4.5 million files.