Q&A: Kaiser Permanente CEO Halvorson on Retirement

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media , October 5, 2012

GH: You're right. The ACO (accountable care organization) model in the ACA is designed in several ways to have other organizations look and function more like us. Even the medical home part of the bill is designed to have organizations look and function like our medical home and our Team Care. So yes.

So the way we influenced that was by delivering great care. We've cut sepsis death rates in half, the number of pressure ulcers by more than half. We've done an incredibly good job of cutting the number of strokes and we've cut the number of heart attacks and the number of broken bones and our HIV death rate is the lowest in the country.

So the reason we have credibility is that when someone looks at us and says "how are they doing? Wow, they cut the HIV death rate in half?" That's what gives us standing. It's based on performance, not hypothetical, theoretical, or political.

HLM: Talk about your biggest frustrations and challenges.

GH: I actually have remarkably few. We've got computerized care. We put $4 billion into an electronic medical records and support system. And it worked.

HLM:What issues will your successor have to grapple with?

GH: Keeping up. The new technology world is changing rapidly. We lead right now with EMR available to people on their iPhones, the type of thing that is cutting edge. But I think healthcare technology, the app universe, is going to explode.

And whoever succeeds me will have to be right on top of that whole agenda, making sure KP keeps up and is a leader. Right now, we have more e-visits and e-connectivity and more electronic lab results than anybody. But if we stopped right now and just put a stake in the ground and said we're done, the market and care delivery process [would] move past us.


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