When you read this, Grace Bailey ’18 will have set off for Oakland, California, where she’ll be interning for the summer at Kaiser Permanente. Here’s what she’s found out about the company so far:
“Kaiser makes an effort to solve problems in an innovative and service-focused (as opposed to research-focused) manner, usually through the use of emerging technologies and creative, fast-paced brainstorming sessions. They follow a step-by-step problem-solving process: They start by spending a day in a Kaiser hospital, noting observations, and interviewing nurses, staff, doctors and patients to garner a sense for the problem at hand. After their observation day, the team gathers at their office and identifies the problem plaguing the hospital. Next, they work to problem-solve, developing a solution through both human-centered design thinking and the use of technology at the Sidney R. Garfield Health Care Innovation Center, Kaiser’s brainstorming and prototyping facility. Once the Innovation Consultancy team has created a viable solution to the problem, they implement it in Kaiser hospitals. To ensure that the project undertaken was successful, the team measures the effectiveness of their solution, comparing the cost of developing the project to the money the organization is saving as a result of the new solution, as well as other, less tangible measures like employee and patient satisfaction. If the solution proves successful, they scale it to become a streamlined practice in all Kaiser hospitals.
Kaiser’s innovation efforts are evident: they have the most advanced electronic medical record (EMR) system in the country and distinguish themselves from most United States hospitals in that they do not follow a fee-for-service model but instead ensure that premiums cover all patient care. Additionally, Kaiser is a key player in the Innovation Learning Network, a consortium of health care organizations that share ideas to advance healthcare innovation efforts. Overall, this speaks to Kaiser Permanente as a whole in that it values sharing knowledge and bringing great idea-generators together. From explaining the Innovation Consultancy’s process of combining new technology with new methodologies to highlighting several specific aspects of Kaiser that make it incredibly innovative, I am very excited to begin my work with Kaiser in this sphere.”