Learning Health System Program

Partnering to advance lifesaving care

Amy Lee describes how our Learning Health System  Program is helping Kaiser Permanente Washington track and improve treatment for opioid use disorder.

Read it in our Healthy Findings blog.

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

  • 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. Learn more in this Q&A with Emily Westbrook, MHA, who leads operations for the LHS Program.
  • 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. Learn more in this Q&A with LHS Program Director Katie Coleman, MSPH.
  • We're conducting an evidence review to inform Kaiser Permanente National's COVID-19 testing strategy. And, since the onset of the pandemic, LHS partner Paula Blasi, MPH, a research associate at KPWHRI, has been doing daily COVID-19 literature scans to inform Kaiser Permanente's high-priority efforts and support rapid decision making. 
  • Using predictive analytics, the LHS Program recently provided Kaiser Permanente Washington 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 were able to then quickly expand this work to include outreach efforts to non-Medicare members with complex medical and social needs and other chronic conditions. 
  • 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.
  • With the new era of virtual care brought on by the pandemic, we are moving as quickly as possible to adapt elements of our Integrated Pain Management pilot program for a vitual environment. Learn more about this pilot program on our projects page.



advanced analytics

Stethascope and charts

Helping KP Washington lead in intelligent health care

How our Learning Health System Program is using statistical methods and machine learning to respond to COVID-19. Healthy Findings, August 2020.

Notes on our people and programs

We are so grateful to have Lisa Berendts and Candace Reis on the Opioid Safety Committee (OSC) for our Integrated Pain Management (IPM) pilot at Puyallup Medical Center! 

LHS-lisa-berendts.jpgLisa Berendts, LICSW, is the Integrated Mental Health social worker at Puyallup. Her expertise and perspective helped guide our team’s early conversations about integrating mental health into the IPM’s whole-person approach to pain management. 

LHS-candace-reis.jpgAs a community resource specialist, Candace Reis is laser-focused on what our members need and is the first to step up when there’s a need for patient outreach. Her input has been critical in helping us incorporate members' social needs into our whole-person approach to chronic pain management.

Contact us

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