What we can learn from Kaiser Permanente and ‘Shenanigans’

Satisfied patients, satisfied customers

A look at why Kaiser Permanente leads the way in patient engagement and satisfaction.

In the 1990’s I worked for my local school district and the health insurance they offered was Kaiser (I KNOW…gasp). At the time, Kaiser was under some scrutiny for their staff and clinics; if you publicly acknowledged Kaiser as your provider, people offered a concerned/horrified look, accompanied by a “tsk, tsk.”

However, after a broken leg, a bout with strep throat and the birth of my only child, I give Kaiser 5 out of 5 stars. Yep, I just went there. Furthermore, over the course of 23 years, they treated my son for a broken leg, broken hand, broken arm, two sets of stitches (he is the definition of leap then look), and various childhood illnesses and immunizations and we LOVED every doctor/clinic we visited.

What can you learn from Kaiser?

Now remember, this was the 1990’s, at that time I could request an appointment online. I could also view the results of various test and diagnosis, as well as check on the status of any prescription refills. My favorite feature? I could email my provider, if I had simple non-emergency medical question. Online communication in healthcare? That’s silly talk!

I abhor having to pay $20 to my provider, just to have them tell me I have the sniffles because my snot is clear and I don’t have a fever. I could have saved us both time and money had I been able to ask that question via email or a live chat. Don’t get me started on Zoomcare; $89 later I am NOT a fan. Bygones.

Prepare for the shocking reveal…according Nue MD, the following are three things patients want:

  • Digital services (i.e. online bill pay and appointment scheduling).
  • Online follow-up interactions with physicians.
  • Online payment clarity.


As an added twist, Healthcare Finance News reported that in regards to patient satisfaction metrics, healthcare needs to focus on the following:

  • Optimizing self-service beyond bill pay.
  • Following eCommerce practices.
  • Track patient satisfaction.


The gods have spoken; and Kaiser is laughing at all of us and our struggle to grasp the usability of technology. It’s not like it’s the 1990’s! Customer service is a lost art and frankly I am glad it’s becoming a focus. It seems it should be automatic, but clearly it’s not. It’s been measured in healthcare and the results are not favorable.

I am a professor by trade and I’m a serial student. I love learning; you’ll find that same passion for teaching at Litmos Healthcare. Learn from Kaiser: train your staff and automate your processes.

As for shenanigans…I just love that word. Say it and tell me it doesn’t make you smile!