Kaiser Permanente Base Case

By Doug Bartholomew  |  Posted 2006-08-10 Print this article Print

HMO Kaiser Permanente needed tighter alignment between its software developers and its business goals. A new requirements management system proved to be strong, but effective, medicine.

Kaiser Permanente Base Case Headquarters: 300 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: (510) 271-5910
Business: Health maintenance organization providing medical plans and comprehensive medical services.
Vice President of Applications Delivery: Kelly Cannon
Financials in 2005: $31.1 billion revenue; $1 billion profit.
Challenge: Improve and standardize the software requirements development process.


  • Expand KP HealthConnect from an internal network used by 12,000 physicians, to allow 8.5 million members to obtain patient records, make appointments and check lab results online.
  • Build 7 new hospitals, in addition to 30 now in service, by 2012.
  • Expand 19 existing hospitals to accommodate growth, including 13 under the company's seismic replacement program, as part of a $20 billion construction campaign.

    THE PRICE OF POOR PRACTICES 70% TO 85% OF ALL PROJECT REWORK COSTS are due to errors in requirements, says a 1997 article in American Programmer.
    30% TO 50% OF THE TOTAL EFFORT EXPENDED on a software project comes from rework, according to an estimate by Borland Software.
    ALMOST 50% OF DEFECTS IN SOFTWARE PROJECTS can be traced to errors in requirements, Borland says.
    71% OF FAILED SOFTWARE PROJECTS suffer from poor requirements management, according to a paper presented at the 1999 Applications of Software Measurement Conference.

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    Doug Bartholomew is a career journalist who has covered information technology for more than 15 years. A former senior editor at IndustryWeek and InformationWeek, his freelance features have appeared in New York magazine and the Los Angeles Times Magazine. He has a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University.

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