OAKLAND, Calif. — Kaiser Permanente health plans in California were honored recently with a 2013 eValue8 Innovations Award for their groundbreaking Exercise as a Vital Sign program.
The National Business Coalition on Health, a non-profit organization of purchaser-led business and health coalitions, sponsored the award, which recognizes the innovative work of health plans to develop programs that address critical health care issues.
Developed by Kaiser Permanente to consistently capture information on a member’s exercise habits, Exercise as a Vital Sign raises the value of exercise so that it’s equal to other vital signs, such as blood pressure and heart rate. The program is intended to prompt important conversations between individuals and their providers.
Support tools incorporating physical activity assessment and tracking are within Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®, the world’s largest non-governmental electronic medical record system, used throughout all Kaiser Permanente locations. Clinicians can view a patient’s minutes of exercise in KP HealthConnect and provide appropriate advice and referrals for that person to meet exercise recommendations.
“Asking an individual about how much daily physical activity he or she has participated in helps our providers learn about what matters to our patients and prompts patients to think about healthier habits,” said Lisa Schilling, RN, MPH, vice president, Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute.” It also allows us to connect the individual to resources and habits that promote better health.”
Two recent Kaiser Permanente studies that focused on Exercise as a Vital Sign show that the program is changing the way health care providers are working with patients. In a study published in 2012, researchers found that the program is successfully compiling accurate and valuable information that can help clinicians better treat and counsel patients about their lifestyles. And in December of last year, researchers found that asking patients about their exercise habits was associated with weight loss in overweight patients and improved glucose control for patients with diabetes.
eValue8 was created by business coalitions and large employers to measure and evaluate health plan performance. eValue8 asks health vendors probing questions about how they manage critical processes that control costs, reduce and eliminate waste, ensure patient safety, close gaps in care and improve health and health care.
About the National Business Coalition on Health
NBCH is a national, non-profit, membership organization of purchaser-led business and health coalitions, representing over 7,000 employers and 25 million employees and their dependents across the United States. NBCH and its members are dedicated to value-based purchasing of health care services through the collective action of public and private purchasers. For additional information visit: www.nbch.org.
About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 9.1 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to kp.org/share.