Cover of 2018 Annual ReportInquiry. Investigation. Implementation. The cycle of improvement.

Discussion about learning health care systems—those which embed learning and quality improvement within care delivery—has intensified over the past few years. But what does one look like in a real-world setting? And where does research fit in?

The 2018 Department of Research & Evaluation Annual Report illustrates how research at Kaiser Permanente Southern California contributes to a continual cycle of improvement, powered by inquiry, investigation, and implementation.

The cycle of improvement begins with inquiry—asking a question. If a mother has elevated blood sugar during pregnancy, what are the health risks for her child? How might we identify patients who need help addressing social needs, from food and housing to social support? What strategies are effective in reducing opioid prescription?

Answers to these questions come through rigorous investigation, which fills in missing information and generates new evidence. Our scientists and physician researchers were involved in more than 1,400 active studies in 2018, and published more than 400 original research papers.

A small sample of these studies and their findings are highlighted in the 2018 Annual Report. Featured stories include:

Read the full report here.

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