How Kaiser Manages High Blood Pressure

Kaiser used its electronic medical records to identify 88,000 members in the Denver area with hypertension and created a registry to track those whose blood pressure was still too high. It contacts them to come in for hypertension checks annually. And it uses teams of skilled professionals to help patients with lifestyle changes and medications. Kaiser also offers patients home blood-pressure monitors at cost, or about $35, through its pharmacies and provides free blood-pressure checks on a walk-in basis.

Some 83% of Kaiser Colorado’s hypertension patients now have their blood pressure under control. That is up from 61% when the health system launched the program in 2008.

Source: Wall Street Journal.

Comments (11)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. seyyed says:

    ah, it seems obamacare hit the nail on this one with its provision on transitioning to electronic medical records

  2. Nancy says:

    Interesting, but remember what Regi Herzlinger wrote about them.

  3. Alex says:

    I hope that was on a volunteer basis for the program, because if I was continually notified to come in and get my blood pressure checked it would probably GIVE me high blood pressure.

  4. Dorothy Calabrese MD says:

    1. When I worked at Kaiser Permanente 1979-1981, we did not need EHR for this purpose. There was nothing stopping us from appropriate education, management and follow-up of our patients without administrators / management babysitting us. It’s intrinsic to the excellence demanded in a great physician – patient relationship. When Kaiser incentivizes IT babysitting of physicians with this type of EHR oversight, patients lose. Ironically, these stats that purportedly tout how great IT is, instead reveal a clear deficit in the cited monitored physician-patient relationships. Blood pressure is so simple. Physicians routinely integrate complex medical problems that IT can never integrate. If Kaiser physicians can be so statistically outdone by an IT babysitter for something as simple as HBP- what do the stats extrapolate out to for the really sick complex patient for whom IT cannot adequately babysit the Kaiser physician?

    2. This article really requires full disclosure as to the enormous financial benefits PPACA EHR requirements have brought to Kaiser. Kaiser struck “lobbyist gold” by virtue of their EHR industry dominance. Taxpayer dollars subsidized “free” EHR monies of up to $44,000 per physician system, which greatly benefited The Permanente Group.

    Dorothy Calabrese MD
    Allergy & Immunology, San Clemente, CA

  5. Jordan says:

    @Alex: Hah.

  6. Jimmy says:

    It’s good to see improvement!

  7. Charlotte Spencer says:


    You said that 20+ years ago physicians didn’t need EHRs to improve the service provided. I respect and admire physicians like yourself who, without all these technological innovations we have nowadays, were still able to provide a magnificient service and help many patients.
    However, I believe innovations are good. Especially if they make your job simpler and more efficient. As this article explains, Kaiser has been able to improve the access to care to several patients at better costs. So, if these electronic medical records are bringing more benefits than harm to these people, I believe Kaiser is taking good advantage of them.

  8. Dorothy Calabrese MD says:

    I agree with Dyana’s points entirely. . . especially the very complimentary part. . . however. . . I should not be complimented for doing the MINIMUM requirements of the State Licensing Board and what the patient requires.

    Furthermore, I’m a tech geek and have written and implemented my own custom electronic records for 30 years in private practice. . .because it allows me to frame everything in the context best for my making optimal decisions particular in my obscure sub-subspecialty within allergy-immunology.

    Ironically and insanely, these Kaiser PR people published to the public that Kaiser docs and allied professionals clearly violated the standard of medical care and committed obvious legal deficiencies in not properly following-up with ALL patient abnormal clinical findings or lab results as required by our State Medical Boards. . .and subject to probation and other very significant and expensive physician disciplinary action by our State Medical Boards.

    Kaiser is a HUGE financial winner of government mandates in the EHR business. They promote their income by citing improvement in their COSTS associated with properly following the standard of care. Instead Kaiser PR states their doctors are violating the Medical Board mandatory standard of care less frequently because of EHR!

    Physicians shouldn’t be violating the standard of care. . . period. EHR is not the “cure” for the original sin of physicians abrogating their basic responsibilities to follow the minimum mandatory standard of medical care. . . presuming these cited Kaiser statistics are even correct and used in proper context.

    Dorothy Calabrese MD
    Allergy & Immunology, San Clemente, CA

  9. Linda Gorman says:

    The problem is that the evidence suggests that mandated EHRs may not make physicians’ jobs simpler or more efficient.

  10. Robert says:

    Perhaps this could serve as a model.

  11. August says:

    “Physicians shouldn’t be violating the standard of care. . . period.” I agree. But I also see that “Instead Kaiser PR states their doctors are violating the Medical Board mandatory standard of care less frequently because of EHR”

    If EHR increases quality of care then it looks like a net positive, even if Kaiser benefits unduly.