Research with an impact on practice

Our research program has capabilities and resources to conduct clinically relevant research across the spectrum of care, from etiology and prevention to screening, detection, treatment, and beyond. Projects often bring together investigators and staff from several of our scientific divisions as well as clinical collaborators.

Prevention and intervention studies

Our heterogeneous population and integrated clinical practice provide a unique environment for prevention and intervention studies. Our investigators lead behavioral, epidemiologic, and implementation studies to find better ways to prevent disease and promote health. These studies shed light on potential opportunities to improve preventive care and reduce variability in practice.

Findings from our research help to improve screening programs, avoid diagnostic errors, identify behavioral risks, improve patient safety, and understand how social factors can influence health outcomes. Investigators also devise and evaluate interventions that seek to change individual behavior, improve prevention strategies, and enhance care delivery.

Safety and effectiveness

The diversity and stability of our member population and our comprehensive electronic health record system make Kaiser Permanente Southern California an ideal location for safety and effectiveness research. Our research provides real-world evidence to decision-makers in Kaiser Permanente and beyond. Areas of expertise include vaccines, drugs, surgical procedures, and health economics. We participate in Phase IV studies of vaccines, medications, and devices. Investigators also participate in studies through Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Effectiveness and Safety Research.

Outcomes research

The stability of our member population also supports research on long-term outcomes and quality of life for people with chronic conditions, survivors of childhood and adult cancers, and surgical patients. Information gathered from our electronic health records can be supplemented with survey collection tools and registry data. Studies have explored depression among youth with diabetes, sleep disturbances after cancer, and outcomes for men who have undergone various types of prostate surgery.

Traditional clinical trials

Our investigators work with cooperative groups and industry sponsors to conduct Phase II through Phase IV clinical trials for investigational drugs, biologics, and devices. The region has formal clinical trials programs in oncology (adult, gynecologic, pediatric and surgical/radiation oncology), infectious disease, cardiology, and hepatology. Independent investigators also conduct clinical trials in 2 dozen different specialties and subspecialties.

Pragmatic trials

A new area of expertise is pragmatic trials, which evaluate the effectiveness of different clinical approaches or treatments in routine clinical practice. Investigators from the Department of Research & Evaluation have led multi-site pragmatic trials that compare different models of diagnosis and care across different health systems and between sites within the Kaiser Permanente health care system.

Implementation projects

Our investigators collaborate with clinicians and other operational partners to identify barriers to evidence-based practice, evaluate ways to remove those barriers, and implement best practices and proven models of care. Recent projects include the implementation of a collaborative care management model for patients with depression and chronic conditions, development of de-implementation strategies to reduce use of low-value cancer care services, and dissemination of a palliative care intervention for patients with non-small cell lung cancer.