President Angela Dowling shares top industry trends

Apr. 29, 2024

Angela Dowling, Kaiser Permanente’s regional president in Washington, joined more than 250 regional health leaders and participants from tech, government, and nonprofit industries at Puget Sound Business Journal’s annual Health Care of the Future event on March 14, 2024. Dowling shared her perspective on the top trends, opportunities, and challenges in the health care industry in a fireside chat with PSBJ publisher Don Baker.

Value-based care is the future of care

Most U.S. care systems depend on “fee-for-service” care models that largely rely on providing higher volumes of medical services to generate revenue. By contrast, Kaiser Permanente’s model of prepaid care, led by physicians and integrated with coverage by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, has established one of the nation’s only truly value-based care environments. Value-based care emphasizes and rewards healthy outcomes while making care more affordable.

“We go beyond what is traditional,” Dowling said. “Value-based care has been the foundation of our industry-leading model for nearly 80 years. We did it first, and we believe we still do it best. Ours is a model that improves health outcomes and increases access. You may come into a Kaiser Permanente location for a physical, but you’ll be able to take care of all of your bloodwork, catch up on your vaccines, and fill your prescription all at once, with no additional fees. We provide many services, all during the same visit.”

The results speak for themselves: Washington Permanente Medical Group medical group has been one of the top-ranked medical groups in the state for high quality 17 years in a row, according to the Washington Health Alliance 2024 Community Checkup.1

Learn more about how Kaiser Permanente uses value-based care to deliver maximum savings to businesses.

Technology creates more personalized health care experiences

At Kaiser Permanente, telehealth is seamlessly connected to overall care. More than half of members who used our 24/7 virtual care for a video visit avoided a trip to the ER or urgent care.2 About 85% of our members use our digital tools,3 and more than 80% are satisfied with their telehealth experience.4

This can directly affect a business’s bottom line. Every time employees can save an unnecessary in-person visit, it saves an average of 2 hours of work time and more than $170 in direct costs.5

“Our digital tools and new innovations in assisted intelligence accelerate our ability to meet member needs and provide more personalized care, in both options for care and more focused attention during appointments,” Dowling said. “Advances in technology can help our members make more efficient and curated choices, as well as improve their overall experience.”

Learn more about how Kaiser Permanente is using digital tools to meet member needs and how we’re fostering responsible AI use in health care.

Health care providers continue to see increased need for mental health access and care

Dowling remembers mental health needs ranking much lower on the list of the most common health needs when she started her career. Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 25 people lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.6

Kids and teens are also facing record high rates of mental health conditions. The CDC reported that 42% of U.S. high schoolers experienced persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2021, with 22% saying they considered attempting suicide.7

People are also more likely to experience mental health conditions if they have an unmet social need like housing, food security, or child care.

“The good news is treatments work,” Dowling said. “For every $1 spent on scaling up treatment for common mental disorders, a $4 return can be realized in improved health and productivity.”8

Kaiser Permanente is using our integrated care system to get ahead of these common issues sooner. We screen for mental health and substance use in primary care, and we’ve embedded integrated mental health social workers and community resources specialists in all our primary care clinics to help address unmet social needs.

Learn more about access to mental health services at Kaiser Permanente Washington.

1. Washington Health Alliance 2008–2024 Community Checkup reports. The 2017–2024 rankings apply to Kaiser Permanente Washington’s medical group, Washington Permanente Medical Group, P.C. Rankings for years prior to 2017 apply to the then-named Group Health Cooperative’s medical group, formerly named Group Health Permanente, P.C., and now named Washington Permanente Medical Group, P.C.

2. Kaiser Permanente GCN Post-Visit Survey of 60,945 members, 2023.

3. Kaiser Permanente 2022 Annual Report.

4. Kaiser Permanente 2022 Fall METEOR Survey.

5. Established patient visit, level 3, Kaiser Permanente Sample Fee List, 2024. Cost varies by region. 2022 American Time Use Survey, U.S. Bureau Of Labor Statistics,, accessed March 4, 2024.

All carrier plans offered and underwritten by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington or Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington Options, Inc. Self-funded health benefits are insured by an employer, union, or Plan sponsor. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington, Inc., provide certain administrative services for the self-funded Plan and are not an insurer of the Plan or financially liable for health care benefits under the Plan.

© 2023 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington