Identifying risks to prevent illness

Researchers, clinicians, and operational leadership at Kaiser Permanente Southern California use research findings to make it easier for members to get important screenings and to stay healthy. Kristi Reynolds, PhD, MPH, director of epidemiologic research, explains how studying risk factors for disease, such as high blood pressure or lead exposure, helps develop better ways to prevent illness. Dr. Reynolds is motivated to study heart disease because heart diseases are a leading cause of death in the United States.* (1:56)

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart Disease Facts: 2010.

How daily behavior affects health

Where a person lives affects their health even more than how often they visit their doctor. Deborah Rohm Young, PhD, MBA, director of behavioral research, describes how researchers in Kaiser Permanente Southern California look at environmental factors that can lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices and determine the best ways to promote positive behaviors to improve overall health and well-being. (1:50)

Using biostatistics to understand disease and improve health

Biostatistics researchers use statistical tools to determine how disease develops and how treatment works. Anny Hui Xiang, PhD, director of biostatistics research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, explains how long-term patient data from Kaiser Permanente’s extensive electronic health record system enable researchers and physicians to follow patients over time and determine how best to prevent and treat disease. (1:35)

Advancing treatments through clinical trials

Over the years, clinical trials have led to amazing advances in treatment—even cures—for devastating illnesses. William Towner, MD, FACP, FIDSA, regional physician director for clinical trials, describes how trials at Kaiser Permanente contribute to the development of more effective and safer treatments for diseases such as HIV, hepatitis C, cancer, and more. (2:15)

Enabling physicians to practice better medicine

One of the primary goals of our research program is to enable physicians to practice better medicine. Researcher Michael Gould, MD, MS, describes the Care Improvement Research Team, Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s groundbreaking research-operations partnership that works to improve health care quality and affordability for our members and throughout the world. In one of the team’s studies, they learned that timing post-hospitalization visits properly resulted in a decrease of readmission rates for 70,000 members of Kaiser Permanente Southern California.* (2:16)

*JAMA Internal Medicine, January 2017, Vol. 177, No. 1, pp. 132-135.

Elevating clinical quality through research

At Kaiser Permanente, our research is born of the desire to answer the question, “how we can take care of patients more effectively?” Nancy Gin, MD, executive vice president and chief quality officer, The Permanente Federation, describes how physicians work with researchers to develop best practices to improve quality of care. (1:49)

Driving research from a physician perspective

Physicians know that there’s always a better way to do things. That’s where research can offer answers. Bechien Wu, MD, MPH, chair of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Regional Research Committee, describes how physicians bringing important questions from their clinical practice collaborate with researchers to develop and conduct studies develop best practices and achieve the best outcomes for their patients. (1:36)

Using research to guide clinical decision-making

Getting the best care shouldn’t depend on who’s working that day. Adam Sharp, MD, MSc, emergency physician and research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, describes how research helps determine which methods of care are most effective, and contributes to development of decision-support tools to enable physicians to provide the best care most consistently. Such tools can be helpful in diagnosing conditions like chest pain, which can be caused by a variety of things. Chest pain is the second most common reason people come into the emergency department.* (2:27)

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2010 Emergency Department Summary Tables.

Advancing cancer care through clinical trials

Clinical trials are essential in advancing treatments for many different types of cancer in both children and adults. Helen Moon, MD, a cancer clinical trials investigator, shares how oncologists at Kaiser Permanente provide consistent care for their patients while leading trials of new therapies, including immunotherapy, that may more effectively treat cancer of all types. (1:52)

Participating in a clinical trial

With clinical trials, we have hope. A Kaiser Permanente member and clinical trials participant shares how her clinical trial experience at Kaiser Permanente Southern California can offer hope to other patients who may be considering participating in a trial themselves. (1:50)

Patients and caregivers bring insights to research

Patients and caregivers bring “out-of-the box” thinking to health research. An advisor to one of our research studies describes the important role of patients and caregivers in advising research teams with the real-life patient perspective to help ensure the studies are relevant and realistic. (1:45)

Seeking early detection for pancreatic cancer

There still are no good screening methods for detecting pancreatic cancer before its late stages. Bechien Wu, MD, MPH, chair of the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Regional Research Committee, describes how researchers and physicians are using electronic health record data to help develop personalized profiles to predict patients’ risk of pancreatic cancer and to detect pancreatic cancer early, when it is treatable. Although relatively rare, pancreatic cancer is still the third-leading cause of cancer- related death in the United States.* (1:59)

*American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts & Figures 2019.

Conducting research within an integrated health care system

At Kaiser Permanente Southern California, we’re often able to use research findings to improve care almost immediately. Steven Jacobsen, MD, PhD, senior director of research, describes how our unique structure and extensive medical records data enable researchers and clinicians to develop answers to important questions and translate those answers into improved care. (2:44)