The OpenNotes movement: What comes next

After a recent $10 million infusion of cash into the OpenNotes movement, a post on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Culture of Health blog outlines the path forward over the next three years.

More than 5 million patients now have access to their doctors' notes, including patients served by Boston Children's Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson Cancer Center, the entire Veterans Administration and many others, according to a graphic.

The plan for the next three years includes:

  • Expanding the program to 50 million patients nationwide including recruiting more safety net providers, as OpenNotes holds the potential to help providers more effectively reach vulnerable populations between appointments.
  • Create initiatives to more fully engage patients and their families in their care.
  • Measure and evaluate the value and effectiveness of the program.

"Opening clinical notes shows great promise for everyone who gives, gets and pays for care by increasing patient empowerment, improving clinician-patient relationships and ultimately helping patients achieve their health goals," writes senior program officer Susan R. Mende.

"It's part of an ever-growing and much-needed movement toward greater transparency, collaboration and patient-centeredness--and it's the sort of creative thinking healthcare needs more of." 

Opening up notes helps level the balance of power between physician and patient, Bruce McCarthy,  president of Milwaukee-based Columbia St. Mary's Hospital told FierceHealthIT in a recent interview. While there had been some worry that patients would pester doctors with questions, as it turned out, "It wasn't that big a deal," he said.

Michael Pfeffer, CIO at UCLA Health, says physician buy-in is critical to make the program work. "It cannot be an IT project, it really needs clinician leadership," he told FierceHealthIT in a December interview.

To learn more:
- read the blog post
- check out the graphic