On July 17, 2008, George C. Halvorson gave testimony to the Senate Finance Committee on the role of health information technology in improving health outcomes. The full text of his testimony is available in PDF format from the Senate Finance Committee's website.
If you would just like the highlights, but prefer to get them from someone a little more removed from Mr. Halvorson than we are, you should check out the post made by Condor over on the Searlings Got Plowed Blog. (I like to get multiple sources and perspectives so I feel compelled to offer them to our readers when I can.)
Here is one small excerpt that really grabbed me. Mr. Halvorson, in the course of detailing what Kaiser has already implemented in the way of electronic health records, shares the following letter received by his company. It's a letter that shows the human impact of these technological advances:
This last example was highlighted for me by a recent letter from a member that puts a human face on these statistics.If you are at all interested in the application of technology in this fashion, I highly advise taking a look at the full text of his testimony. If it is food for thought you are looking for, this is a banquet!
Early last year, I came to your facility to have a foreign body removed from my eye. I visited your Ophthalmology Department and your competent staff dealt with this minor emergency. What made this visit so meaningful was my interaction with your nurse after my visit with the doctor. In addition to giving me some after visit instructions, she noticed in the computer that I needed a mammography exam. I had been reminded before but I tend to be too busy to take care of my own health. This time the nurse was very insistent. She even made me an appointment so I could walk in and get the exam within the hour. Since I did not have to wait too long, I had the exam done that day. Well, they found a mass in my right breast and it was cancer. I have gone through chemotherapy and radiation therapy and today I am cancer free.
I am convinced that I am alive today because of your organization’s focus on my total health. My interaction with your entire health care system has been nothing but positive. I am especially appreciative to the young nurse who took the time to convince a stubborn old lady to take responsibility for my health.
Thank you for giving me many more years to thrive.
This letter describes a simple act by one of our nurses, but it was possible only because the nurse had access to that information, acted on it, and was part of an integrated health care system that encourages this series of events.
Download PDF here.
SOURCE: "Testimony of George C. Halvorson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals Before the Senate Finance Committee" 07/17/08
photo courtesy of Mr. George Halvorson