Kaiser Permanente Uses AHRQ Data and Research to Provide Evidence for Clinical Decision Support

Comparative Effectiveness
February 2004

Kaiser Permanente has embarked on a nationwide $1.8 billion initiative to launch a highly sophisticated and integrated information management and delivery system. Known as Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect (KP HealthConnect), this automated system allows Kaiser to provide, among many things, evidence-based guidance to clinicians at the point of service in all its eight regions.

The Knowledge Management Unit at Kaiser Permanente's Care Management Institute (CMI) has the task of finding the "right" choices based on best evidence for clinical decision support. This group regards AHRQ as a valued source of evidence-based information to guide clinician decisionmaking and patient care management, according to Joyce E. Gilbert, MPH, Evidence Consultant, and Grant Okawa, MD, Evidence-based Medicine Methodologist, at Kaiser's CMI in Hawaii.

According to Okawa, "As we develop our electronic medical record [KP HealthConnect], we have the responsibility to use the highest quality evidence to inform our clinical decision support system. AHRQ provides excellent, rigorous, evidence-based systematic reviews that have been of tremendous value to this ongoing work."

Sponsored by Kaiser's CMI, the Knowledge Management Unit provides networking, sharing of learning, and coordination for all evidence-based medicine and evidence-based nursing practice work related to KP HealthConnect. The Unit consists of evidence-based methodologists and consultants, and includes clinicians and non-clinicians from four states (Hawaii, California, Oregon, and Colorado).

AHRQ research, materials, and the National Guideline ClearinghouseTM (NGC) are integral in another area of KP HealthConnect. The CMI also oversees development of highest quality guidelines for implementation across the program. The guideline groups are disease-focused and conduct extremely thorough reviews of evidence to identify best practices. Twelve core conditions are supported by the CMI, and 19 guidelines have been completed. AHRQ reports and research are included in their citations.

States Gilbert, "I have appreciated the easy availability of AHRQ's Evidence Reports, to be read or ordered online at no cost, as well as the online search engine on AHRQ's Web site. Sources for best evidence have been identified, and AHRQ is among them."

Gilbert adds, "AHRQ is an asset that helps Kaiser Permanente practice evidence-based medicine, thereby influencing clinical practice, improving health policies, and affecting patient outcomes. Thank you for this valuable public service."

When fully implemented, KP HealthConnect will integrate the clinical record with appointments, registration, and billing across the Kaiser organization. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente is the nation's largest nonprofit health plan, serving 8.4 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Approximately 11,000 physicians provide care in 30 medical centers and 431 medical office buildings across the program.

Impact Case Study Identifier: 
AHRQ Product(s): Evidence-based Practice Center Program (EPC), National Guidelines Clearinghouse (NGC)
Topics(s): Health Information Technology (HIT)
Geographic Location: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon
Implementer: Kaiser Permanente
Date: 02/01/2004
Page last reviewed October 2014