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Kaiser Permanente Northwest Joins the Oregon Health Network

May 10, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Kaiser Permanente Northwest has joined the Oregon Health Network (OHN), Oregon’s health information highway, providing information connectivity to the entire healthcare continuum in the state.

OHN is a wholly owned subsidiary of OCHIN whose mission is to improve the quality, access, and delivery of healthcare to all Oregonians. OHN uses FCC grant funds to provide a widely available, low-cost, integrated, and monitored healthcare network that allows users to benefit from increased health information exchange, telehealth, and conference services throughout the state of Oregon.

Kaiser Permanente Northwest includes Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas, Ore., and has 27 outpatient medical offices, and 16 dental offices. Overall enrollment in the medical program stands at more than 472,500 patients.

“The walls of cost and complexity in patient care and medical education are coming down, and we are pleased to be at the forefront of this transformation,” Abigail Sears, OCHIN’s CEO, said in a statement.

As a patient moves across the continuum of care, the sharing of information between generalists and specialists and from community to community, along with telehealth and other electronic technologies, helps medical providers to quickly serve patients in ways that can save time and money and increase overall patient and provider satisfaction.

“Kaiser Permanente works with many alliance partners and other providers throughout the state of Oregon and Southwest Washington,” Homer Chin M.D., associate medical director of Kaiser Permanente Northwest, said in a statement. “With the increasing need for high speed, high bandwidth, reliable connectivity, with 24/7 support, and the increasing need to extend our services to a wider community, OHN presented a quality-driven, cost-effective, compelling solution for us.”

Kaiser Permanente officially joins OHN on May 1, 2013. OHN officials say that over time, Kaiser Permanente patients and affiliate partners will see an improvement in the amount and reliability of information exchange and the quality of telehealth services as Kaiser Permanente migrates from its current point-to-point connections with its alliance partners to OHN. Kaiser Permanente also plans to connect to an increasing number of other community health providers through OHN, as the demand for health information exchange and information technology services increases and the cost of providing those services decreases.

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