What does investing in community health mean? Investment can mean so many things, but at Kaiser Permanente it means utilizing a Kaiser Permanente asset, whether that be intellectual property in the form of evidence-based best practices or a financial investment such as grants.
The intention is to use the assets to improve the health of our community. We know we cannot accomplish this without establishing strong partnerships with other organizations in the community.
In 2015, Cecelia L. Crawford, DNP, RN; practice specialist for evidence-based practice and program evaluation in the Regional Nursing Research Program at Kaiser Permanente, began working with a team from Kern Medical to assess their needs related to specific quality measurements, where Kern Medical was having difficulty achieving their desired results.
Crawford and a team of operational leaders from Kern Medical spent time together and considered all the places where Kaiser Permanente assets could be leveraged to improve the quality of care being provided at Kern Medical.
The team determined that a patient mobility program was needed to improve several of the quality measurements.
After completing an assessment and working with Crawford to implement and augment Kaiser Permanente’s evidence based best practice programs, the team developed the Up Sooner Safer program at Kern Medical.
In September 2016, Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California Region Community Benefit Department provided a grant of $578,000 to fund Kern Medical’s Up Sooner Safer progressive mobility program. New mechanical lifting devices were placed in each unit, ensuring patients are lifted, transferred or repositioned safely and with dignity. Recognizing that early patient mobility and safe handling requires changes in practice, Kern Medical is also partnering with Kaiser Permanente to provide staff education on the lift equipment and evidence-based mobility protocols.
Due to this multifaceted approach to improving community health, Kern Medical has been able to realize a cost savings of $300,000 in its workers comp insurance that, plus our grant investment, has yielded $876,000 in savings for our public hospital, while providing improved patient care.
As part of our commitment to improving the health of the communities we serve, Kaiser Permanente continues to share not only knowledge and educational resources, but was, in this case, able to provide that link between program development and implementation of the program by providing this large grant. Up Sooner Safer, is a cohesive, comprehensive and interdisciplinary effort to improve patient care for the most vulnerable in our community.
Kristin Weber is the community benefit manager at Kaiser Permanente. In her role at Kaiser Permanente, she serves as a link between community organizations and Kaiser Permanente.