Kaiser Permanente launches first iPhone app

By: Brian Dolan | Jul 26, 2011        

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KP LocatorKaiser Permanente announced this morning the launch of its first mobile application, a free iPhone app that helps people locate Kaiser Permanente care facilities nationwide. The app, KP Locator, is one part of Kaiser Permanente’s upcoming mobile strategy, which also involves a new mobile optimized version of their PHR software, My Health Manager.

KP Locator combines the Facility Directory service on Kaiser Permanente’s website with the iPhone’s GPS capabilities to search for nearby KP facilities using Google Maps, display their contact info, and list the health services offered at that location.

“Mobile solutions, like KP Locator and the upcoming mobile-optimized version of My Health Manager, mobile.kp.org, are a natural progression in delivering a high-quality care experience,” stated Phil Fasano, executive vice president and chief information officer of Kaiser Permanente in a press release. “Mobile solutions also address the rising costs of health care by giving members access to routine information and services without staff intervention, making interactions more convenient, personal and effective.”

Kaiser has been rolling out mobile-based services for awhile now. They had one the earliest high profile launches of text message appointment reminders, which they piloted in 2008. The service launched in 2009.

“What I am working on is symphony of apps that brings to bear the behavioral models, incentive models and information therapies into one single construct,” Kaiser CMIO John Mattison told MobiHealthNews last year. “[Kaiser Permanente] has always been founded on wellness and disease prevention: Recently our EHR helped us to make strides in wellness, but I believe that mobile is going to be the biggest accelerator for wellness that has ever come along, because of the basic presence of cell phones. People are mobile and phones are mobile — it’s convenient.”

Read the full press release below.

OAKLAND, Calif., July 26, 2011 — Kaiser Permanente announced today the launch of its first mobile application, KP Locator. The app, available at no charge through the iPhone App Store, is just one element of Kaiser Permanente’s growing mobile strategy, which also includes the optimization of My Health Manager, Kaiser Permanente’s integrated personal health record on kp.org, for mobile devices later this year.

The Facility Directory on kp.org is one of Kaiser Permanente’s top five online tools with nearly six million visits in 2010. KP Locat­­or combines the power of the robust directory and the iPhone’s GPS capabilities to make searching for KP facilities fast and easy for patients on the go. It answers three of the most basic, but vital, user questions thoroughly and simply – where are the Kaiser Permanente locations close to me, how can I contact and get to them, and what departments and services can I access there?

Using Google maps, KP Locator has a simple and intuitive interface familiar to iPhone owners. Users can input a city name or ZIP code to find the KP facilities in their area. Search results can be viewed as pins on a map or a list. Users simply tap the desired facility to view address and phone number information and departments and services available there. Users can add the facility to their favorites list to quickly access the information later, add phone numbers to their contact list, and text or email facility information to someone else. By tapping on the “Directions to here” button on the facility information screen, users can get driving, walking or public transportation directions to the facility. Ultimately, the goal is to provide convenient mobile tools that empower patients to manage their health, no matter the device or operating system.

“Mobile solutions, like KP Locator and the upcoming mobile-optimized version of My Health Manager, mobile.kp.org, are a natural progression in delivering a high-quality care experience,” said Phil Fasano, executive vice president and chief information officer, Kaiser Permanente. “Mobile solutions also address the rising costs of health care by giving members access to routine information and services without staff intervention, making interactions more convenient, personal and effective.”

The new and future mobile capabilities complement Kaiser Permanente’s already significant web presence, providing members with convenient, 24-7 access to their personal health information and to their care teams, and could lead to increased self-management and better health outcomes. Mobile capabilities also allow Kaiser Permanente to engage new member populations that may have a cell phone or other mobile device, but not a home computer.

“Recent analytics reports show that more than 14 percent of visits to kp.org are from mobile devices and smart phones,” said Christine Paige, senior vice president for marketing and Internet services, Kaiser Permanente. “As mobile devices become more and more affordable, that number will grow. We want our members who have those devices to have easy access to all of the same high-quality online tools on their mobile devices as they have from standard computers.”

Kaiser Permanente members, from healthy, young adults to Medicare beneficiaries, have enjoyed online access to their lab test results, medications and other important health information since 2007. More than 3.5 million members have signed up to access My Health Manager, which received more than 62 million logins in 2010. The secure personal health record also allows members to order prescription refills and message their doctors, often saving them the inconvenience of having to go to a physician’s office or wait on hold to speak with a clinician on the phone.

Kaiser Permanente is known for its leadership in the use of health information technology (health IT) and its groundbreaking electronic health record, Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®, which is the largest private EHR in the world. KP HealthConnect enables all of Kaiser Permanente’s more than 15,000 physicians to electronically access the medical records of all 8.8 million Kaiser Permanente members nationwide and serves as a model for other systems. The health care provider has received numerous awards for its health IT expertise including 35 HIMSS Stage 7 Awards, more than any other health care organization.

You can learn more about how patients, clinicians and researchers are using My Health Manager and KP HealthConnect by checking out Kaiser Permanente’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/kaiserpermanenteorg.

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 8.8 million members in nine 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: www.kp.org/newscenter.