OpenNotes, Informatics, and the Power of Patient Access

May 21, 2018
Free for AMIA members; $50 for non-members.
Catherine DesRoches, DrPH

Please join the Consumer and Pervasive Health Informatics Working Group and the People and Organizational Issues Working Group on Monday, May 21, to learn how OpenNotes works to improve engagement, support shared decision making, and enhance the patient experience.

At the 2017 annual symposium, AMIA announced a formal collaboration with OpenNotes in an effort to further a nationwide movement to offer patients easier access to clinical notes.  OpenNotes is not a technology or software; it urges doctors, nurses, therapists, and others to invite patients to read their clinical notes. The first OpenNotes study of 20,000 patients was published in 2011, and continuing evidence now shows that when doctors and patients are on the same page, looking at the same information, a patient’s level of understanding increases. Today, more than 100 health systems are sharing notes throughout North America, with 21 million patients having access to their notes via a secure, online patient portal.

After launching OpenNotes at Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Robert Unitarian, MD, observed that if OpenNotes “was a medicine that could do all of these things—improve patient compliance, improve a patient’s trust in their provider, improve the likelihood that a patient will follow through with your recommendations—you would put all of your patients on it.”

Learning Objectives

After participating in this activity, the learner should be better able to:

  • Understand OpenNotes as a system-wide organizational strategy
  • Evaluate best practices for OpenNotes implementation
  • Describe benefits and challenges of OpenNotes
  • Analyze OpenNotes as a strategy for patient safety

Speaker Information

Catherine M. (Cait) DesRoches, DrPH
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Catherine M. (Cait) DesRoches is Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a distinguished health services researcher with expertise in emerging trends in health care delivery. She came to OpenNotes from Mathematica Policy Research, a national firm with extensive expertise in social policy research, where she was a Senior Fellow studying the use of electronic health records by hospitals and physicians, the effect of health care organizations on physician clinical practice, physician capacity to provide coordinated patient-centered care, and primary care workforce issues. Cait also has extensive experience leading and managing interdisciplinary research aimed at improving health system performance and quality of care.
A graduate of the University of Massachusetts, School of Public Health, and the Joseph P. Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University where she received her doctoral degree, Cait has worked as research scientist and project director for the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and has held faculty positions at Vanderbilt University, Simmons College of Social Work and Harvard Medical School. Much of her work has focused on electronic health record adoption and organizational change.