Learning Health System Program

Our Learning Health System Program has mobilized quickly to support a rapid response to COVID-19.

What is the Learning Health System Program?

Kaiser Permanente Washington’s Learning Health System (LHS) Program brings our research institute and care delivery system together to design, implement, and evaluate initiatives that benefit our members, our care teams, and the communities we serve. We use research evidence, data and advanced analytics, implementation science, and member experience to spread sustainable best practices across our health system. 

A key role of the LHS Program is to help Kaiser Permanente Washington act quickly to implement changes when urgent needs arise—such as the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using LHS Program capabilities helps Kaiser Permanente Washington make timely, patient-centered decisions that are informed by science, driven by our own data, and designed to be sustainable.

Recent program highlights

How we're contributing to the fight against COVID-19

Using advanced analytics and scientific evidence to support rapid COVID-19 response 

  • In April, we provided data and modeling support and conducted a rapid evidence review to inform the work of Vice Admiral (ret.) Raquel Bono, Director, Washington state COVID-19 Health System Response Management.
  • Using predictive analytics, the LHS Program recently provided care teams with information that estimates health risk among Medicare members. This allowed clinic staff to prioritize outreach efforts to our most-vulnerable seniors, many of whom have multiple chronic conditions, ensuring that they know how to get care. This effort was based on previous predictive analytics work for flu vaccine outreach
  • We are mounting a similar outreach effort in mental health care, using a novel algorithm to identify which patients are at greatest risk of self-harm so they can be connected to services. We also are looking into proactive outreach to patients who have had recent virtual visits for pain and who are at risk of inappropriate opioid use.
  • We're informing an emerging Kaiser Permanente Washington plan to use data to determine whether members are delaying care during the COVID-19 pandemic and to develop programs to prevent negative health outcomes members might be experiencing due to delayed care.

Other ways we're contributing in the era of COVID-19

  • We're working closely with Kaiser Permanente Washington's newly formed Business Command Center to understand, improve, and evaluate the virtual care delivery system of the future that has emerged from our rapid COVID-19 response.
  • We're conducting an evidence review to inform Kaiser Permanente National's COVID-19 testing strategy.


Optimizing access to high-quality mental health care

Over the past year, the LHS Program has been partnering with colleagues in Mental Health and Wellness to explore the challenge of ensuring access to high-quality mental health care for Kaiser Permanente Washington members and to recommend evidence-based interventions that could contribute to improvements. Project lead Julie Richards recently presented our final report to Mental Health and Wellness (MHW) leaders. The report includes:

  • Insights and priorities from MHW leaders, including new Director Maria Coghill
  • Results from a rapid literature review & environmental scan of similar health organizations’ approaches to addressing access challenges
  • A summary of Kaiser Permanente Washington's current state, including substantial efforts and progress in improving care
  • Recommendations for further development of a holistic Mental Health and Wellness program to addresses improvements in return access for our group practice

Next up: Julie will present key findings from the report to MHW's Master's Level Therapist (MLT) Improvement Committee on June 5.


virtual care and COVID-19

Woman having a telehealth visit on her laptop

Future is now: Telemedicine transforms health systems

Katie Coleman describes how the COVID-19 pandemic ushered in a new normal at Kaiser Permanente Washington and how research is vital to making it thrive

Notes on our people and programs

Learning Health System Program team members

As part of Kaiser Permanente Washington's new Adolescent Integrated Mental Health (AIMH) initiative, Gwen Lapham is leading an LHS Program team as they kick off a series of interviews and focus groups with teen members. Kudos to Gwen and her team for pivoting quickly to develop a virtual approach to these discussions--ensuring that this important work can move forward while prioritizing participant safety during COVID-19.

Hats off to Claire Allen, Jessica Mogk, Nora Henrikson, and Paula Blasi, who conducted a rapid literature review on telehealth on an extremely tight timeline. Kaiser Permanente Washington leaders will use findings from their review to help guide future strategies around virtual care.

LHS Program in the media

New program ensures high-risk patients get flu shots in the South Sound

KING 5 News, Dec. 2, 2019

LHS Program Fast Facts

  • Established June 1, 2017, by executive leaders at Kaiser Permanente Washington and Washington Permanente Medical Group.
  • Led by Dr. Paula Lozano, Katie Coleman, Emily Westbrook, and Claire Allen. Learn more about our team.
  • More than 50 LHS projects or consultations completed or in progress, spanning more than 40 researchers from Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.

Contact us

For more information about Kaiser Permanente Washington's Learning Health System Program, please email us at KPWALHS@kp.org.