George C. Halvorson served as chairman and chief executive officer of Kaiser Permanente from 2002 to 2013, and continues to serve as chairman. Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., Kaiser Permanente is the nation’s largest nonprofit health plan and hospital system, serving more than 9 million members and generating about $50 billion in annual revenue.
Kaiser Permanente has been investing heavily in electronic medical records and physician support systems over the past five years. More than 9 million patients now have their records in the Kaiser Permanente computers. The medical records are designed to provide real-time information to patients and physicians and to provide the tools to coordinate their care among doctors, nurses and other caregivers.
Kaiser Permanente also is a leader in electronic connectivity between doctors and patients, with more than 12 million yearly “e-visits” chosen by patients instead of face-to-face clinical visits, and more than 100 million lab reports, test results and care updates sent to patients by their Kaiser Permanente care teams.
Care improvement programs supported by Kaiser Permanente computer systems have dramatically diminished rates of sepsis and pressure ulcers, cut HIV death rates to half the national average, improved heart-disease survival, and significantly reduced the number of broken bones for Kaiser Permanente members.
Medical research supported by the Kaiser Permanente database has impacted the use of Vioxx, heart stents, various joint implants and medical treatments for expectant mothers.
Kaiser Permanente is building one of the world’s largest DNA data sets for health care research, with nearly 200,000 patient DNA samples collected and added so far.
Halvorson was recently honored with the 2013 HISTalk Health Care IT Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as America’s Health Insurance Plans Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award.
He has received the Modern Healthcare/Health Information and Management Systems Society CEO IT Achievement Award. The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange also awarded him the 2009 Louis Sullivan Award for leadership and achievements in advancing health care quality.
Halvorson was recently appointed as chair of the First 5 California Commission by Gov. Jerry Brown.
In 2012, he was the social media chair for the Global Health Policy Forum and was named No. 6 on Modern Healthcare’s annual 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare list.
Halvorson has served on the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Value & Science-Driven Health Care, the IOM Task Force on Making America a Learning Health Care Organization, the American Hospital Association’s Advisory Committee on Health Reform, the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System and the New America Foundation Leadership Council.
He has served on the boards of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Alliance of Community Health Plans.
Halvorson chaired the International Federation of Health Plans and co-chaired the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care for 2010. In 2009, he chaired the World Economic Forum’s Health Governors meetings in Davos, Switzerland.
Halvorson has written five health care reform guidebooks, including Health Care Will Not Reform Itself: A User’s Guide to Refocusing and Reforming American Health Care, Health Care Reform Now!, Health Care Co-ops in Uganda, Strong Medicine and Epidemic of Care. In 2012, he published KP Inside: 101 Letters to Us at Kaiser Permanente, which is a compilation of letters he has written to Kaiser Permanente employees each week since Sept. 27, 2007.
Halvorson served as an advisor to the governments of Uganda, Great Britain, Jamaica and Russia on issues of health policy and financing. His strong commitment to diversity and inter-ethnic healing has led him to his current writing project, a book about racial and ethnic prejudice and intergroup conflict around the world.
Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, Halvorson was president and chief executive officer of HealthPartners, headquartered in Minneapolis, for nearly 18 years. With more than 30 years of health care management experience, he has also held several senior management positions with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and Health Accord International.