Michael Kanter, MD, Honored with APHA’s Prestigious Donabedian Award for Health Care Quality


Permanente Medicine Quality Leader Recognized for Contributions to Health Care Quality Improvement

Michael Kanter, MD

Permanente physician leader Michael Kanter, MD, received Monday the 19th Annual Donabedian Award from the American Public Health Association (APHA) for his exemplary leadership in reducing diagnostic errors and delays.

Dr. Kanter serves as the Southern California Permanente Medical Group’s medical director of Quality and Clinical Analysis and executive vice president and chief quality officer for The Permanente Federation. His pioneering work to develop and spread Kaiser Permanente’s Sure Net program, an electronic surveillance program tracking over 4 million patients, has resulted in fewer missed or delayed diagnoses and a reduction in medication safety issues. Currently, 54 tracking and alert programs are in place across Kaiser Permanente and similar implementations are occurring in other health care systems.

Diagnostic error has been identified by the Institute of Medicine as one of the leading causes of harm in medical care, and the institute says that most adults will be subject to at least one major diagnostic error in their lifetime. The causes of diagnostic error are many but one significant cause  occurs when a test result comes back abnormal but perhaps the patient does not receive the necessary follow-up. KP Sure Net helps to solve this problem by alerting physicians to these potential lapses before any possible health issues can progress further.

The program leverages Kaiser Permanente’s robust electronic health record (EHR) and integrated delivery system with a culture of continuous improvement to seek out solutions to decreasing diagnostic error and other quality issues. The goal of KP Sure Net is to close potential care gaps for two categories of care: diagnostic detection and medication safety. The automated program scans the EHR to identify potential patient safety issues, ranging from drug-disease interaction to early detection of cancer.

“Since the implementation of our electronic medical record over 10 years ago, Kaiser Permanente has had a long history of developing leading-edge technology and diagnostic capabilities that help us to understand risk and improve patient outcomes. KP Sure Net is a systems-level approach to closing care gaps, and we’re delighted that other organizations are inspired to follow our lead,” Dr. Kanter says.

Each year, the APHA recognizes outstanding contributions to quality assurance and improvement of health care with the Avedis Donabedian Award. Avedis Donabedian, MD, MPH, is recognized as the preeminent thinker and contributor to the conceptual and practical advances in the field of quality research during the formative years of the field of Quality Assurance. Past award winners include Don Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP, Lucian Leape, MD, and Lisa Iezzoni, MD, MSc.