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27 Percent of Area Kaiser Members Accessing Records Online

Nearly 160,000, or 27 percent, of Kaiser Permanente’s 600,000 members in San Diego County have registered to access their health records online.

Nationwide, 2 million of Kaiser’s 9 million members are tracking their care with access to the Web-based health records, says Casey Hart, a spokeswoman for the Oakland nonprofit who works in San Diego.

Although Kaiser originally launched personal health record features on its Web site in 2005, a November relaunch allows for a more “cohesive package” for the user, Hart says.

The PHR system allows members to make appointments, order prescription refills, access their own lab results or e-mail doctors. There is no additional cost, but members must activate their own records.

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Hart says that a six-month campaign, beginning in September, was launched to encourage members to use the PHR as part of a preventive health program. Employees went to the 21 medical office buildings in the county managed by Kaiser to help members start working on their records.

“It keeps them out of the doctor’s office,” she said, “and keeps them in work.”

Kaiser used a PHR called My Health Manager developed by Epic Systems Corp., a Wisconsin-based company that builds health care information systems.

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UC San Diego Receives Geriatric Health Grant:

The John A. Hartford Foundation renewed a $750,000 grant for UC San Diego, university officials said April 15.

The grant will be used at the Center for Excellence in Geriatric Psychiatry to fund training for psychiatrists, researchers and educators, according to Dilip Jeste, director of the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging at UCSD.

Originally, the center was funded by the Hartford Foundation, a New York organization that provides grants, fellowships and scholarships regarding senior health, in 2005.

It will receive $150,000 annually for the next five years, according to Jeste. With about 25 full- and part-time faculty members, the center brings in geriatric psychiatrists with an academic focus.

Funding will be distributed for support to travel for conferences, supplies and equipment, supplemental salaries for faculty members and research, says Jeste.

According to a university news release, 3,000 out of 39,000 psychiatrists in the United States specialize in geriatric psychiatry. Jeste also says that there are 40 million elderly people in the nation, including 4 million who reside in California.

The geriatric psychiatry program at UC San Diego offers research, clinical and academic training.


This is Jaimy Lee’s last column for the San Diego Business Journal. Please send health care items to Heather Chambers at hchambers@sdbj.com.

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