As one of the nation’s most productive research institutions, Kaiser Permanente and our research scientists are transforming the future of health. Through our national and regional research centers, we continue to make important contributions in health services and medical research that translate into benefits for individual patients, health care delivery systems, and society-at-large.
Our researchers use their deep expertise, strategic partnerships and the rich resource provided by our electronic medical record system to conduct groundbreaking research.
Below are a few of our areas of focus for research and as well as key partnerships.
Kaiser Permanente researchers study many aspects of cancer, including screening programs, the possible role of genetics in cancer risk, and developing new treatments for cancer. For example, in 2014 we published a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine that found tests that require patients to collect a single stool sample at home and then send it to a lab for analysis will detect about 79 percent of colorectal cancers. The National Cancer Institute recently awarded Kaiser Permanente $7.3 million to expand our innovative cancer clinical trials program and to conduct research studies aimed at improving cancer treatments and cancer care delivery.
Risk factors for heart disease
Kaiser Permanente researchers investigate a number of aspects of cardiovascular conditions, including care improvement and treatment. In 2014, a study we published in Circulation: Heart Failure that found men who reported being sedentary, with low levels of physical activity, were at a significantly higher risk for heart failure than those who were more active. We also published a study in 2013 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that asking patients about their exercise habits during routine clinic visits was associated with weight loss in overweight patients and improved glucose control for patients with diabetes. In addition, over the last few years three Kaiser Permanente regions have been designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as Million Hearts® Hypertension Control Champions, recognition for success in helping patients control high blood pressure.
Through the Vaccine Safety DataLink – a partnership involving Kaiser Permanente, other health care systems and the Centers for Disease Control – our researchers investigate the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.For example, we published a study in early 2015 that confirmed the safety of two common measles vaccines. We also published a study in 2013 that found chicken pox, the childhood affliction of earlier generations, has been largely neutralized by the varicella vaccine.
Large-scale research on multiple conditions
In 2013, we joined the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute and 4 other health care delivery systems in creating a national, comparative research network. Together, we will use computerized data to study the long-term effects of different treatments on a variety of conditions, including colon cancer, heart disease, and obesity.