What They’re Watching: Dave Underriner, Kaiser Permanente

Dave Underriner is the President of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals of Hawaii. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss technology in healthcare.

“So at Kaiser Permanente, as you know, [we have] a strong focus on serving community health — you know, really looking at how we support people on the full continuum of their journey from birth to death. And so really a lot of focus is on how do we create healthier lives and actually help people thrive along that continuum? So, you know, we’ve been at this for awhile but now with new technologies and approaches and ways to connect people, the real emphasis is really, how do we help people where they’re at?

You know, all the way from things like “fit rewards,” which incentivizes people to use gyms and sign up for gyms because again, you can choose what you want to do. I think right now the innovation in technology is incredible. As we think about care that can be delivered in different settings, in the home, where you don’t need to go to a clinic to see a physician; you can actually connect via email, virtually. Being able to monitor and share information — I don’t have to spend time to go somewhere, but it comes to me. And then I can do, and shape my behaviors around having that technology and innovation. So that’s on the one hand, really supporting people.

The other is the incredible innovation around excellence in care. You know, you think about things like robotic surgery, same-day total hips. Wow, really? Are you kidding me? And what we find is that it’s better outcomes for people. We’re able to do things for people even as they get older, because they’re less invasive, so their quality of life can extend even as they deal with chronic illness, for example. So [I’m watching] the technology and what we are bringing to physician care and clinical care on really all ends of the spectrum.”