session HDM 11. 12
Senior Vice President, Marketing & Internet Services
Kaiser Permanente, Oakland, Calif.
The Paige File
◉ Corporate research analyst, Blue Cross of California
◉ Political science professor, Notre Dame and
Southern Methodist University
◉ Ph.D. political science, University of California, Berkeley
◉ B.A., University of Southern California
Interview by Elizabeth Gardner
Christine Paige brings a unique set of skills to the management of Kaiser Permanente’s Internet services, cour- tesy of a doctorate in political science. Discouraged with the hardships of
developing an academic career, and impatient with
research projects that take years to bear fruit, she
swapped a professorship for a career in health care
marketing. She says her studies of political behavior
transferred easily to analyzing people’s health care
choices, and the rapid pace of change keeps things
interesting. At Kaiser since 1988, Paige oversees advertising and brand management, including e-com-merce and online access for Kaiser members. She has
played a key role in the development of its pioneering
patient portal, and talks to HDM about some of the secrets of its success.
We’ve done studies showing that people who are
active online are more likely to stay with us than
people who aren’t. Their overall satisfaction is higher. And we know that it does make them healthier.
We did a very rigorous clinical study of two groups
of diabetic patients, one active online and one not.
The latter had better blood sugar control. They can
graph their results over time, get prescription refills online, and converse with their physicians. We
haven’t compared the cost of care [for people who
use online services vs. those who don’t] but we
know in general terms that people who don’t have
good sugar management are more costly.
We also know that one in four e-mail communications with physicians results in a saved office
visit, and those have cost savings implications,
in things like gallons of gas, or parking spaces or
exam rooms needed.
We started online with communication and health
education, the way many organizations did, but
quickly realized that the way to engage people is to
create a portfolio of useful activities and transactions. Our pharmacy refill service was very popular
at the outset, and we followed that with a whole
suite of functionality, including appointment-mak-ing, viewing lab results, and being able to e-mail
your physician. Online after-visit summaries are a
huge asset for people who can’t take in everything
during an appointment, or for their family members to access.
We want to evolve our mobile applications to
give patients real-time reminders about their appointments through text, or let them know what
the wait is at their pharmacy, or help them with
way finding when they’re visiting one of our large,
And of course, there’s a whole world of personal
health monitoring out there that we’re thinking
about—how to prioritize devices, and how to turn
that data into information.