Patients and doctors, on the same page

Imagine that, when you got home from the doctor’s office, there was an email waiting for you, with the notes your doctor had just taken during your visit.

You’d be able to read them, make sure your doctor had understood you, make sure you understood your doctor, share the notes with someone else, and follow up as  needed.

It’s more than an idea; it’s a movement. And it’s spreading. In fact, if you happen to live in the Northwest you may encounter it soon.

OpenNotes, as the concept is called, has just been adopted as standard practice by nine prominent health systems and medical groups, covering more than a million people in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

“We want patients to feel connected with their providers, and to have the type of tools that will enable them to be more engaged and in control of their care,” says Dr. Michael McNamara, chief medical information officer for Kaiser Permanente Northwest.

This marks the first time that OpenNotes, a national movement that urges health-related organizations to adopt open access to clinician notes as a standard of care, has   been embraced simultaneously throughout an entire region. It brings notes within the reach of 3 million patients now.

The OpenNotes initiative is funded primarily by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The Northwest initiative is supported by We Can Do Better.

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