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Population Health News

Kaiser Permanente Targets Population Health with New Med School

Population health management, team-based care, and EHR use will anchor the curriculum of the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine.

By Jennifer Bresnick

- Not content with being one of the nation’s largest healthcare provider systems and a key innovator in the health IT space, Kaiser Permanente is taking its leadership role one step further by opening up a new medical school, officials announced yesterday

Population health management and medical education

With a strong focus on strategic innovations, including population health management, team-based approaches to patient care, and patient engagement, the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine will be based in Southern California.

“Opening a medical school and influencing physician education is based on our belief that the new models of care mean we must reimagine how physicians are trained,” said Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals.

“Training a new generation of physicians to deliver on the promise of health and health care demonstrates our belief that our model of care is best for the current and future diverse populations in this country.”

An interdisciplinary team, including representatives from the physician community, health plans, and operational experts, will chart a modern and comprehensive direction for the institution.  National Quality Forum President and CEO Christine Cassel, MD, will be part of the planning and implementation process.

Kaiser Permanente will be following in the footsteps of many medical schools across the country as it tries to adapt traditional curriculums to the modern data-driven environment students will encounter upon graduation.

The American Medical Association has made creating the “medical school of the future” one of its primary goals for the next few years, aiming to integrate electronic health record training and collaborative care approaches into the foundational experiences for students.

“There is a clear need for medical students today to have access to and learn how to properly use electronic health records well before they enter practice,” AMA Board Member Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, said in June.

“For our future physicians to successfully navigate the 21st century health care system, we must close the gaps that currently exist between how medical students are educated and how healthcare is delivered now and in the future.”

The AMA’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Program has brought big data analytics and population health management training into the schedules of students at a number of top schools across the country, including the NYU School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and programs at academic centers in Michigan, Indiana, California, Utah, Washington, North Carolina, and more.

“Medical education needs to change to keep pace with the changing health care delivery system and changing patient needs,” said George Thibault, MD, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. “Kaiser Permanente is in a position to make important contributions to these changes by bringing its vast experience with teamwork, coordinated care and technology to medical education.

“Kaiser Permanente’s proposed new medical school will join other new schools and reform-minded existing schools in this effort to better align medical education with contemporary societal needs.”

The school plans to open to its first class of students in the fall of 2019, Kaiser Permanente says.

“When fully realized, the school will enhance the health care provided nationwide and beyond as the newly graduated physicians bring to bear their training and knowledge wherever they choose to practice,” added Edward M. Ellison, MD, a national Permanente leader, an executive sponsor for the School of Medicine, and Executive Medical Director of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group. “Kaiser Permanente has been a catalyst for change in care delivery, and we will be a catalyst in medical education, through the opening of the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine.”


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