Kaiser physicians can order digital health apps for patients through EHR

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente added a new function to its EHR that lets physicians and therapists order digital healthcare apps for patients directly through the system, according to a Dec. 16 news release. 

After a Kaiser physician or therapist refers the app in the patient's EHR, patients can begin using the digital tool for free on their own or under the clinician's guidance. The health system found that patients are more likely to use the digital resources if a provider refers them, according to Kaiser's case study published in NEJM Catalyst Innovations in Care Delivery

The apps that the health system offers in clinical settings include Calm, Headspace and Whil, which focus on mindfulness and meditation to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as myStrength, SilverCloud and Thrive, which provide cognitive behavioral therapy and guided support and interactive activities. 

Kaiser launched the digital app offering in 2018 for patients through their online patient accounts and also trained clinicians on the use of the apps and workflow documentation. The health system has completed 115,000 app referrals since rapidly expanding the effort earlier this year. 

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