One hundred eighty thousand families helped. 180,000 lives made less scary. 180,000 moments of a warm hug and hope delivered. Who knew that a single box could drive so much impact, impart so much love?
This wasn't just a project about figuring out supply and demand, activating new and different vendors, standing up procurement operations from scratch, building a business case to send free supplies to Covid-19 positive patients, getting sign-off from legal, executives, lead physicians, nurses on the ground, and marketing in record time, or figuring out quick-rev digital ethnography – sure we did those things – but, it was truly a project about helping people during the scariest time of their lives. It was a love story really. A love story fueled by compassion and understanding of the human experience during this unfathomable time. A story made real by the gratitude of our patients and the relentless grit of our team, of our organization.
In early summer 2020, COVID-19 was spreading quicker than cities, states, and nations could keep up with. We knew we needed to act, and we needed to act fast. If we couldn't slow the spread at a community level, could we at least stop the spread within the households of our patients? Kaiser Permanente commissioned an internal team of doers. The kind of people that move with speed and discipline; that will take on any challenge and quickly become experts; that will cold-call vendors to secure immense quantities of hard-to-find supplies; connect with community organizations and external experts; and figure out how to coach, screen, and refer patients to resources they need. We created this product and service offering from the ground up and we did it more holistically and synergistically than imagined possible.
Through nimble ethnographic research, workshops with experts, and a vast amount of learnings from Ebola, SARS, and MERS responses, as well as research on products for infectious disease, cultural competency and equity considerations, and a failure points analysis – Kaiser Permanente stood up the Household Care Kit + Coaching program as part of our pandemic response. Our goal was to slow viral transmission among our patients and communities by aggressively identifying infected patients and intervening early in the diagnosis.
This program is offered to COVID-19 positive KP patients and is being distributed across the eight regions we serve. The kit contains educational collateral curated from CDC guidelines and includes helpful supplies to assist in effective isolation and quarantining. The Coaching aspect of the program helps to answer questions about one's diagnosis, understand patients' social needs, and refer them to community resources. This program has helped 180,000 people feel loved in a time of fear and uncertainty. It has created a pocket of humanity during inhumane times and allowed families to focus on healing instead of worrying. We send the unmarked box with nothing but a heart sticker on the outside because we mean to convey exactly that – we care about you, and we are sending you love.
But really, what's in the box?
Kaiser Permanente Household Care Kits contain essential products needed to successfully prevent the transmission of COVID-19 within a household, including: masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, soap, a digital thermometer, alcohol prep pads, disposable dishes and utensils, trash bags, quick reference cards with helpful tips to place around your home, and an information booklet that covers everything from how to use the included products to how to reduce stress and anxiety during these trying times. The program is so much more than just the kit; the program also includes an intake assessment, telephonic coaching, social needs screening and referrals (such as food, housing, or financial assistance), and engagement with community organizations.
In 2020, we distributed 42,521 standard kits, 20,499 supplemental kits (for larger households), and benefitted more than 179,774 Kaiser Permanente patients and their families. The program was designed to be resilient and was able to keep up with exponential growth from October through December, delivering 91% of kits within 2 business days.
All the materials are offered in the four languages that represent the majority of our patient population: English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese. As demand increased, two additional languages, Russian and Tagalog, were added to the program. Additionally, all materials are available for anyone to download on our website and are ADA accessible (http://kp.org/covid19guide and https://kp.org/guiacovid19). The development process and products in the kit are documented in a playbook, which has been, along with non-branded collateral, for various mayor's offices and local public health agencies to use, replicate, and distribute their own programs. This playbook will inform the development of numerous other direct to consumer kits to augment virtual care and support the needs of specific health conditions.
2020 Numbers of Note
We would cover 17.30 miles with all kits laid end-to-end 7,403,100 masks deployed 2,126,050 pairs of gloves distributed 13,193 gallons of hand sanitizer shared 9,254 gallons of soap sent
The program maintained an extremely high rates of satisfaction across a number of metrics:
• 95% are satisfied or very satisfied with the Household Care Kit program
• 80% found the action plan easy or very easy to follow
• 93% reported the items in the kit made it easier to protect the household
• 98% reported the COVID-19 patient did not leave the house for the 14 day quarantine period
• 88% reported they were able to isolate the COVID-19 patient from others in the household
• 98% found the educational material somewhat useful or very useful
• 98% found the supplies in the kit somewhat useful or very useful