As part of President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative, The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) and OpenNotes are teaming up to accelerate data sharing between patients and providers. The collaboration with OpenNotes continues CHIME’s efforts to improve information exchange across the healthcare continuum, including advancing interoperability and ensuring the accuracy of patient identification.
Neither a software program nor a new technology, OpenNotes is an initiative that urges health systems and clinicians to offer patients easy and secure access to the medical notes that are part of their electronic health record. The goal is to improve communication and engage patients, and often their families, far more actively in their care. While there has been a proliferation in the use of electronic health records, making it easier for patients to see such things as lab results and medication history, physician notes often are not available. These notes contain important insights that can better guide patients in their care decisions.
The power of OpenNotes first came to light in a 2010 study involving 105 primary care physicians and 20,000 patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Geisinger Health System in rural Pennsylvania and Harborview Medical Center, a safety net hospital in Seattle. Patients were invited to read the notes in their health record using a secure patient website. The study found that two-thirds of patients who accessed their physicians’ notes reported feeling more informed about their medical condition. Additionally, more than 85 percent of patients said that having access to notes would influence their future choice of providers.
Since the 2010 pilot, a rapidly growing number of health systems have adopted this striking change in practice, including the entire Department of Veterans Affairs. As leaders in their organizations, CHIME members are dedicated to using information technology to transform care delivery and strive for the Triple Aim of a better patient experience, improved population health and lower costs. Facilitating information exchange among patients and providers is essential to reaching those goals, Branzell said. CHIME will collaborate with the OpenNotes team to bring greater awareness of OpenNotes and other patient-facing technologies to CIOs and other health IT leaders and support the spread of OpenNotes across the United States.
“We started with 20,000 patients, and now more than five million patients have ready access to the notes their clinicians make in their medical records. Our goal is to expand OpenNotes to 50 million within three years,” said Homer Chin, M.D., former Associate Medical Director for Clinical Information Systems at Kaiser Permanente Northwest and Affiliate Professor in Medical Informatics and Outcomes Research at the Oregon Health and Sciences University, a widely recognized health IT expert and member of the OpenNotes team. “We are continuing to explore new strategies to spread the reach of OpenNotes and improve patient engagement.”
In January, the CHIME Healthcare Innovation Trust, along with HeroX, officially launched the $1 million crowdsourcing competition aimed at finding a solution to patient identification.