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Case Study: IT implementation in Kaiser Inc.

Many health care companies are on the cutting edge of medicine, but they lag behind in the use of information technology (IT) and the Internet. Loading old steel filing cabinets with medical and insurance records is typical of these health care companies. These massive documents are stored in huge rooms and shipped around the country by the truckloads. Today, many health care companies have adopted a more healthy approach with the help of IT and the Internet. In a US$ 2 billion project, Kaiser Inc. is launching a massive technology initiative. The objective is to move all its operations to the Internet. Kaiser Inc. plans to develop a digital medical record of all its 9 million members. The record will be linked to the company's 361 hospitals and 10,000 doctors, nurses, etc. The heart of the system will be an Internet site. Separate Internet sites will allow doctors and health care administrators the ability to order a wide array of supplies and equipment. The Kaiser CEO, Mr David, believes that the Internet 'will be the central nervous system for tying all the elements needed to care for patients better'. The new Internet strategy also aims to improve the bottom line for Kaiser. In 1998, Kaiser Inc. made losses of around US$ 288 million. Some blame the disappointing loss on underestimating the amount of care the company needed to give to patients. The new Internet system would also help to reduce costs. Kaiser Inc. hopes that the vast Internet system will allow it to compare a doctor's bills that vary substantially. The idea is to fine-tune the standard treatment that would reduce cost. Kaiser also hopes that the new system will cut paperwork and record-keeping costs.


1. Explain Kaiser's move to take the help of IT and the Internet. In your opinion, is it a positive move? Why or why not?

Kaiser’s move to take the help of IT and the Internet was absolutely fine. Since unnecessary cost & expenditure is going over the record keeping that is also not yet centralized. So moving over Internet will make it centralized, accessible from anywhere, and maintenance of their server only. So I think it is a positive move. Because in the long run it’ll pay off the investment made on centralized server based database. For instance, say until now they have N numbers of records of their patients then how much it would become after a decade. It could be 10 to 50 times of N. Then in that case keeping the records of past and present would have become much more costlier than what it is now.

2. Do you think Kaiser's Internet initiative is aimed primarily at improving patient care or is it to reduce costs? Give reasons to support your answer.

Kaiser's Internet initiative is aimed primarily at reducing costs of file storage and accessibility. But after implementing it world-wide, it made more easy for other people like doctors, caretakers, etc. to keep a tab on patients health and his past history of medical records. So indirectly it is about improving patient care.

3. In your opinion, what operations of Kaiser Inc. should be moved to the Internet? Discuss the future scope of improvement in Kaiser's system.

Operations involving patients records, that will include history of medical checkup, past diseases, and treatments, records of doctor’s who have treated it, etc should be moved over Internet first as it is involved with the patients care. After that doctors records should have been moved. Following which the medicine records. At last there would have been other data related to infrastructure, management, etc. be moved.
By regular upgradation of the software/website providing user centric data as well as analyzed data will make lots of improvements in Kaiser's system in future.


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