Earlier this month, software company Verint announced that Kaiser Permanente achieved the highest web satisfaction among the largest U.S. health insurers, according to its recent survey. The honor underscores the health organization’s ongoing commitment towards advancing digitally-enabled care. Chair of the Community Health Committee for Kaiser Permanente and director of the University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA) Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence, Dr. Cynthia Telles applauded Kaiser Permanente’s success,“A well-designed website can be just as powerful as an instrument of health as a thermometer or stethoscope. Ensuring our digital properties make health information more accessible and understandable is an ongoing focus for me and the organizations I work with and support.”
According to Accenture’s 2019 Digital Health Consumer survey,53% of patients prefer a medical provider that offers digital care services and a user-friendly experience. As such, finding ways to apply digital technologies to overcome barriers to the provision of quality care has become a constant focus for Dr. Telles and her teams at UCLA and Kaiser Permanente.“At UCLA, part of my work is focused on ensuring language is not an impediment to personal and community health,” says Dr. Cynthia Telles. “For many, digital is much like a language, in that it is the channel through which many are most comfortable communicating. There is a responsibility among health care providers to find ways to engage patients in digital settings, just as there is a responsibility to ensure we are communicating in a language and vocabulary patients can understand.”
Health care improvements that can be realized by digital technologies, were recently illustrated by the Kaiser Permanente 2018 Annual Report, including enabling predictive modeling, early-warning detection for health symptoms, and rapid response for emergency situations. “Today’s environment is more digital than ever, and it’s critical that health leaders remain committed to serving members through the right applications of technology to drive positive health outcomes in an accessible, approachable, and secure manner. By reviewing the progress Kaiser Permanente has made in digital adoption, one can immediately see the immense impact driven by strategic digital technologies,” notes Dr. Cynthia Telles.
In order to quickly and effectively deliver digital services that provide easy access to telephone and video visits, lab results, prescription orders, and bill payments, Kaiser Permanente deployed DevOps, a strategy that leverages collaboration between developmental and operational functions in order to provide a rapid IT service. “The DevOps approach has transformed Kaiser Permanente’s technology-assisted care systems, enabling greater member engagement, access, convenience, and care options. The Community Health Committee and I are incredibly pleased with the difference it’s making in the patient experience,” explained Dr. Telles.
The organization’s Medicare website is another digital initiative that is improving patients’ access to information. With the eligibility for Medicare expanding to approximately 10,000 baby boomers across the nation each day, ensuring that Medicare requirements are easily understood is of increasing importance. To address this growing need, Kaiser Permanente invested in ensuring its Medicare website served as an easy-to-use resource center for members. “Patients of all ages respond best to care that is easy to access and understand. By continuing to evolve our offerings and integrate digital components into our holistic approach to care, we are helping members obtain necessary medical services and information conveniently and comfortably,” says Dr. Telles.
Cynthia Telles, PhD has dedicated her professional career to expanding access to high-quality health and mental health care, especially to underserved communities. She has served on Boards of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. since April 2003, where she is also chair of the Community Health Committee. Additionally, she has chaired the boards of the California Endowment, and the California Community Foundation. For over three decades, Dr. Telles has been the director of the UCLA Spanish-Speaking Psychosocial Clinic, which provides psychiatric and psychological services to low-income Latino patients and training to mental health professionals.