KP discharge app is early step in future care vision

By Jonah Comstock
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journey home board Kaiser PermanenteThree new Kaiser Permanente hospitals will be opening soon in California and will roll out the Journey Home Board, a tablet application that serves as an outpatient education and engagement app. The Journey Home Board is the latest technology to come out of Kaiser's Imagine Care Anywhere program, an innovation center based out of Kaiser's Garfield Innovation Center in San Leandro, California.

"For those of you who have never been hospitalized, when you're a patient at the hospital you don't really feel like you're in control," Danielle Cass, Innovation Evangelist at Kaiser Permanente said in a presentation at HIMSS in Orlando, Florida. "You don't really know what's going on, when do I get to go home, what tests are happening, who's my care team. The Journey Home Board puts the member at the center."

While the patient is in the hospital, the Journey Home Board is similar to Mayo Clinic's MyCare app that was piloted last year. It shows a list of appointments or recovery milestones that have to be met before they can go home. It allows them to track progress in a patient diary.

But the app goes further than the Mayo Clinic app. The application will be tailored for different kinds of patients, but Cass used the example of a new mother. For her, the app might contain videos of breastfeeding techniques, information on post-partum depression, and even an instructional video about setting up a car seat. It also would connect the mother to other KP members who are new mothers.

In the Imagine Care Anywhere vision of future care, however, the Journey Home Board is just the first step. Cass and Kaiser CIO and senior VP Wendy Lee talked about a number of technologies that combined to enhance the care experience with mobile, either at home, at a mall-based clinic, at the hospital, or out and about in the world. An online demo is now available as well.

For instance, KP is working on software that would allow the user to check various health indicators by breathing into his or her smartphone. Other technology would speed up check-in, allowing a patient to check in and even pay a co-pay automatically just by scanning his or her smartphone at the clinic. Or, a patient could do his or her grocery shopping from a KP app that would only display the groceries that fit in with their nutritionist care plan. In return for using KP's app, the user would get a discount on their groceries, which would then be delivered to their home. Several of the clinical concepts KP presented involved a huge touchscreen table from which a doctor can access records or initiate video messaging with other members of a patient's care team.

The center also offers tours, and brings a smaller version of its prototype to events like HIMSS. Those efforts, and the new online version, exist to seek out feedback from a wide range of doctors and patients and to better refine the ideas.

Cass and Lee admitted that not every concept technology makes it into the real world. But that's a feature, not a bug. Cass said that after testing an ultimately abandoning a concept where nurses would use mobile medication carts for medication administration, Kaiser discovered that another hospital had gone ahead and implemented the same thing -- and the hospital system wasted $12 million before concluding it didn't work.

"It's great to have a place where you can test things out and sometimes succeed and sometimes fail," she said.