Information technology  

Kaiser Permanente expands online access to medical records in Georgia

17 August 2006

Atlanta, USA. US healthcare provider Kaiser Permanente has expanded its provision of electronic medical records (EMR) in Georgia. Kaiser Permanente members in the state can now access portions of their medical records online, email their doctor's office with questions, view lab test results and review past office visit information online at their convenience. They also can view or cancel future appointments.

The company is the first Georgia HMO to offer such a service, which was launched on August 5 at the Kaiser Permanente medical facility in Gwinnett County. It plans to add future services online such as scheduling appointments, viewing immunization and allergy records. Members can also set up reminders for preventive care screenings (mammograms, annual physical, etc.).

"Our members requested the service," said Luke Webster, MD, physician lead for Kaiser Permanente's member online access project team. "Kaiser Permanente is ahead of the curve since the government mandated that all patients must have online access to their records by 2010."

In a recent study conducted by Chicago-based market research firm Synovate, for Kaiser Permanente, most Americans said their top healthcare preferences were accessing their medical records and scheduling medical appointments online.

"Online services are a part of our commitment to offering the best possible customer service to our members," Dr. Webster said. "We think the addition of these services helps us remain an industry leader in health care."

Kaiser Permanente began converting its 12 metro Atlanta facilities to electronic medical records in the past year. Georgia was the seventh state to install EMR within the company's healthcare system. It was one of the first in the Unites States to implement EMR in 2003 and is in the final stages of rolling out the program to its more than 8.5 million members nationwide.

With EMR, its doctors can instantly get critical health information about their members. In addition to saving time and money, electronic records can save lives. The EMR system automatically flags abnormal test results and dangerous drug interactions, since member records are all in one online space at

Because of EMR, Kaiser Permanente was first to discover the Vioxx problem, which helped Merck voluntarily pull the drug from store shelves while it researched the situation.

Members can already refill prescriptions online, get medical information on more than 40,000 health topics, use health calculators to determine things such as pregnancy due dates and talk to and receive support from other members about common health concerns in chat rooms and on message boards.

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