In an article published this week in NEJM Catalyst, Kaiser Permanente leaders and Permanente physicians acknowledge the conundrum of reopening the country for business while preventing successive waves of coronavirus infection, and describe the next strategic phase in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic: disease suppression.
“Suppression recognizes that despite the considerable risk of outbreaks reemerging as social distancing is lifted,” the authors write in the article, “we must carefully balance these concerns against the grave population health risks of failing to successfully reopen our communities and restart our economies.”
The article co-authors include Stephen Parodi, MD, Kaiser Permanente national infectious disease leader and executive vice president of The Permanente Federation; Bechara Choucair, MD, Kaiser Permanente chief health officer; and Vincent X. Liu, MD, PhD, intensivist with The Permanente Medical Group and research scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Northern California.
The authors describe 8 specific capabilities that Kaiser Permanente — one of the country’s largest integrated health organizations — is developing to help achieve effective disease suppression. These capabilities include proactive testing strategies, contact tracing, community health care, home-based care, planning for future surges, targeted and safe health care reopening, ongoing research, and effective communication that includes ongoing patient education.
In addition to Drs. Parodi, Choucair, and Liu, co-authors include Scott Young, MD, The Permanente Federation; Jim Bellows, PhD, Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute; and David Grossman, MD, Kaiser Permanente national senior medical director for community health.
Note: To see the complete paper, visit the NEJM Catalyst site.