Kaiser Permanente is joining Graphite Health, a digital health company run by major hospital chains that focuses on promoting interoperability among health records systems, the integrated health system announced Thursday.
The Oakland, California-based not-for-profit company is the fourth health system to participate in Graphite Health after SSM Health of Madison, Wisconsin, Albuquerque, New Mexico-based Presbyterian Healthcare Services and Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare. Prat Vemana, Kaiser Permanente's senior vice president and chief digital officer, will join Graphite Health's board.
Involving Kaiser Permanente was a logical next step as the use of digital tools is essential to its mission, said Dr. Ries Robinson, CEO of Graphite Health and chief innovation advisor at Presbyterian Healthcare Services.
"The initial members are very important in defining the direction of the company and really providing leadership in terms of where the company goes and how it fulfills its mission," Robinson said.
Graphite Health and its health system members develop technology and acquire the necessary resources to adopt these tools. The not-for-profit company also runs a digital health marketplace.
"Kaiser Permanente is committed to improving healthcare in the U.S., and our decision to join Graphite Health reflects another step we're taking to further that mission," Chair and CEO Greg Adams said in a news release. "Graphite Health is tackling some of the most pressing issues in healthcare today, making it easier to adopt digital health tools with a focus on trust and transparency."
Graphite Health is largely modeled on the health utility company Civica Rx, which brought together healthcare systems establish a generic pharmaceuticals manufacturing facility to save money on drug costs, Robinson said. "People really resonated around that idea of addressing a problem that was greater than any individual healthcare system could address, but doing it around the good of the collective," he said.
Graphite Health intends to create standards health systems can use to better utilize their data for patient care, Robinson said.
The hospital-run company also plans to sign on more health systems and philanthropies and to partner with other digital health organizations.
"You really only solve interoperability by being able to get, say, 25% of the industry to [agree] that we're going to utilize this common language or this degree of data standardization," Robinson said.