Kaiser Permanente is joining Graphite Health, a digital healthcare company operated by large hospital networks that is promoting interoperability between medical record systems, the integrated healthcare system announced Thursday.
The Oakland, California-based nonprofit is the fourth healthcare system participating in Graphite Health, after SSM Health of Madison, Wisconsin, Albuquerque, Presbyterian Healthcare Services of New Mexico, and Intermountain Healthcare of Salt Lake City. Prat Vemana, senior vice president and chief digital officer of Kaiser Permanente, will join Graphite Health’s board of directors.
Engaging Kaiser Permanente was a logical next step as leveraging digital tools is essential to its mission, said Dr. Rhys Robinson, CEO of Graphite Health and chief innovation advisor at Presbyterian Healthcare Services.
“Initial members are very important in setting the direction of a company and really provide leadership in terms of where the company is going and how it is fulfilling its mission,” Robinson said.
Graphite Health and members of its healthcare system are developing the technology and acquiring the necessary resources to implement these tools. The nonprofit also operates a digital health marketplace.
“Kaiser Permanente is committed to improving healthcare in the US, and our decision to join Graphite Health reflects another step we are taking to fulfill that mission,” Chairman and CEO Greg Adams said in a press release. “Graphite Health addresses some of the most pressing challenges in healthcare today by making it easier to implement digital health tools with a focus on trust and transparency.”
Graphite Health is largely modeled after utility health care company Civica Rx, which consolidated healthcare systems and created a generic pharmaceuticals business to save money on drug costs, Robinson said. “People really resonated with the idea of tackling a problem that was bigger than any single healthcare system, but doing it for the good of the collective,” he said.
Graphite Health intends to create standards that healthcare systems can use to better use their data to treat patients, Robinson said.
The hospital-operated company also plans to sign contracts with other healthcare systems and charities, and collaborate with other digital healthcare organizations.
“You really only solve an interoperability problem if you can get, say, 25% of the industry [agree] that we are going to use this common language or this degree of data standardization,” Robinson said.