Using Information Technology at Kaiser Permanente to Support Health Equity

  • Ronald L. Copeland
  • Winston F. WongEmail author
  • Jason Jones
  • Margo Edmunds


The mission of Kaiser Permanente, the largest not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system in the USA, is “to provide high-quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and communities we serve.” This paired focus on the health of individuals and communities derives from the organization’s core value of health equity, which encompasses two notions: (1) the organization’s own members must have equal access to the highest-quality care, regardless of socioeconomic or any other factors; and (2) that health systems must address unhealthy environmental factors that disproportionately pose barriers to both members’ and the larger community’s ability to thrive. Health information technology (IT) is a critical enabler of Kaiser Permanente’s work to address health equity. This chapter describes the specific IT systems and tools used by Kaiser Permanente to identify and narrow or eliminate disparities in care for its members, including one of the nation’s largest electronic health records (EHRs), panel health management tools, a patient portal, and various telehealth technologies. The chapter concludes with a caution—that use of information technology in health care can itself lead to disparities in care—and discusses ways that delivery systems can and must work to ensure a future in which these tools are used to improve care for everyone.


Health equity Health disparities Total health Population health management Health care analytics Cultural competency Cultural humility Telehealth Information technology HealthConnect My Health Manager Electronic health records Patient portal 



For their assistance in the development and writing of this chapter, the authors wish to thank Dr. Patricia Connolly, Dr. Marc Klau, Dr. Murray Ross, Joy Lewis, Laura Tollen, and David Snow.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald L. Copeland
    • 1
  • Winston F. Wong
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jason Jones
    • 1
  • Margo Edmunds
    • 2
  1. 1.Kaiser PermanenteOaklandUSA
  2. 2.AcademyHealthWashington, DCUSA

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