Select LHS Program projects

LHS-All-Hands-Fuller.jpg      LHS-All-Hands-Coley.jpg      LHS-All-Hands_Lewis_Parish.jpg 

KPWHRI researchers team up with partners from care delivery to present their collaborative work at an LHS Program All Hands event.

Research-care delivery partnerships in action

The LHS Program connects people with diverse expertise from across our organization, providing a unique opportunity to work together and learn from each other—and from our members and their experiences.
To date, more than 50 LHS Program projects have been completed or are underway. Some are short-term collaborations that tap into our researchers' scientific capabilities to quickly answer our care delivery partners' emerging questions about quality, affordability, and member experience. Others are long-term partnerships that involve designing, implementing, and/or evaluating our care delivery system's priority efforts. Here are a few examples:

Developing, testing, and spreading a whole-person approach to managing chronic pain

The LHS Program is leading an Integrated Pain Management Program Pilot that aims to provide safe alternatives to opioids and increase the use of evidence-based, patient-centered non-pharmacologic approaches to chronic pain. Specific program objectives include:

  • Designing a scalable primary care-based pain management approach to improve care for people with chronic pain
  • Implementing and evaluating the approach in a pilot at a single medical center
  • Using findings to spread successful components of the program across Kaiser Permanente Washington

Creating value for our members through advanced analytics

Predictive analytics can improve clinical and operational decision making by identifying meaningful patterns in complex electronic health record (EHR) and claims data. The LHS Program brings scientists together with care delivery partners to design and implement predictive models to improve outcomes such as flu vaccination among high-risk members.

During the 2018/19 flu season, and LHS Program team piloted a predictive risk model to identify members who were at high risk for influenza-related complications, followed by outreach to encourage vaccination for these members. This brief, low-cost, targeted intervention was associated with increased vaccine uptake among high-risk patients. Based on these findings, Kaiser Permanente Washington has adopted this intervention systemwide. (See story by KING 5 NewsDec. 2, 2019.)

Through the LHS Program, other predictive models are being developed to:

  • Prevent hospitalizations
  • Avoid missed appointments
  • Promote advanced care planning
  • Provide services to members at high risk for suicide attempt

In other advanced analytics work, a team of researchers, data experts, and clinical leaders is using variation analysis to improve quality and affordability by reducing variation and utilization of low-value care. This work is focused on the highest cost, highest burden health conditions across our region.

Improving access and service by optimizing the Community Resource Specialist (CRS) role

Kaiser Permanente Washington's new CRS role has been making a difference for our members since the original pilot study that launched the role several years ago. Across all our primary care clinics, CRSs are available to provide brief health coaching to members and to connect them to community-based resources to help meet social needs around things like housing, transportation, parenting support, and healthy food access. (Learn more in this January 2020 blog post by CRS assistant manager and LHS Partner Cindee DeWitt: Partnering with research, CRS program addresses social needs in primary care.)

Through the LHS Program, implementation scientists at KPWHRI are working with behavioral health experts at Kaiser Permanente Washington to define the core components of the CRS role, support its implementation through practice facilitation and technical assistance, and document best practices and scale-up strategies. 

An LHS Program team is also evaluating the impact of the CRS service on patient and care team outcomes. The goal of the evaluation is to use lessons learned to enhance program effectiveness at scale and to inform ongoing decision-making about the CRS program.

Our evaluation will reach an important milestone in March, with the completion of our member survey. To date, we’ve heard from more than 1,150 members on the initial survey and about 750 on the follow-up survey. Next, our qualitative evaluation team will do interviews with members and primary care teams, including all CRSs systemwide. They'll also launch a provider and staff survey and facilitate discussions with care teams at 4 clinics.

Supporting innovative design in new clinics with a member-centered, data-driven approach

The LHS Program is partnering with a variety of stakeholders from across Kaiser Permanente Washington to design and evalute our newest primary care clinics in Ballard and South Lake Union. Using Kaiser Permanente’s best practices and the MacColl Center for Health Care Innovation's prior research, we helped inform the staffing models for the new clinics. Now we're defining the unique elements of the care model, providing real-time feedback to inform implementation and spread, and evaluating the impact on member and staff experience, utilization, health, and enrollment.
The overall goal is to design an evidence-based model for the future of primary care—developing new ways for teams to work together to provide care in the way our members want it, with access to the providers of their choice in person or virtually. Learn more in this recent blog from Katie Coleman: Research helps our newest clinics build the future—now.

Latest news

Photo of Learning Health System Program team members

Learning what works to bridge care and coverage

Claire Allen describes how the Learning Health System Program is helping evaluate and improve an important initiative for our members. Healthy Findings, Feb. 2020.

Health care innovation

Photo of KP Washington team

Research helps our newest clinics build the future—now

Katie Coleman tells how Kaiser Permanente Washington research and the LHS Program support innovation at new clinics in Ballard and South Lake Union. Healthy Findings, Jan. 2020.

Insights from a care delivery partner

Photo of Cindee DeWitt

Partnering with research, CRS program addresses social needs in primary care

Cindee DeWitt describes how Kaiser Permanente Washington’s community resource specialist program stands out among efforts to meet patients’ social needs. Healthy Findings, Jan. 2020.

LHS Program in the media

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

KING 5 News, Dec. 2, 2019

Contact us

For more information about Kaiser Permanente Washington's Learning Health System Program, please email us at