TECH/HEALTH PLANS: LA Times, day late and dollar short on Health Connect

Today’s LA Times has a long story about Kaiser’s Health Connect project. As far as I can tell it has no new information at all other than a quote from one pissed off employee who quit last week right at the end saying it was the worst project he’d ever seen, etc.

Otherwise it was a complete rehash of all the stuff that was in the blogs and in Computer World 3 months ago. And it missed the key issue—was KP’s Citrix-based strategy a fatal flaw, or is it just having teething problems. In other words, will HealthConnect work when it’s fully deployed, or is it doomed from the start? That’s what KP members and the rest of us should really be caring about.

Given the leading role the LA Times has played in breaking myriad issues concerning KP (the kidney transplant fiasco) and other California health plans (cancellations) in the last year, I’m confused as to how this shoddy summary—about something that the rest of us wrote about last year—got written so late in the day.

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  1. The article seemed relatively matter of fact. I remember reading the first kidney transplant story. It wasn’t particularly amazing. It was the series of stories that came after it that built up the push that exposed these problems.
    The story briefly mentioned some patients. I wonder if the baby who was in intensive care came out safely? I hope there are more stories that talk about the human impact. As Matthew said, that’s the important issue here.

  2. I, too was surprised and disappointed about this AM’s LA Times article on Kaiser. I thought their series on Kaiser’s Northern California kidney transplant program problems was excellent. As a 20+ year Kaiser member and former high level Kaiser employee, I feel they deserve much of the press criticism they get these days. But re today’s article, as you point out, there was no “new” news and some surprising inaccuracies. For one thing, Justen Deal was described as a project supervisor who worked on the new system, which implied that he worked on developing and implementing this system. That’s certainly NOT the impression I got following this story on the web since he sent out his Kaiser mass e-mail raising concerns about HealthConnect. If I missed something about his actual responsibilities at Kaiser, please fill me in.

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