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OpenNotes, AMDIS Deal Fosters Patient Access to Health Data

A partnership between OpenNotes and AMDIS will ideally expand patient access to health data through stronger health technologies.

By Sara Heath

OpenNotes has forged a new partnership with the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS) to help improve the transparency of physician notes within patient-facing technologies, and to boost patient access to health data.

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According to AMDIS executives, this new partnership with OpenNotes will help them continue with their mission of advancing care quality.

“Our partnership with OpenNotes is an opportunity for us to support the AMDIS mission of improving health care through the use of information technology, by empowering patients with their own health information,” said William Bria, MD, Chairman of the Board of AMDIS, in a public statement.

The partnership will fuse together AMDIS members’ technological know-how and OpenNotes’ mission to provide transparency in patient and provider interactions. Because providers most often share notes via health IT devices, this partnership will help boost both groups’ agendas.

“These are doctors who are extremely savvy about technology and play a leadership role in advancing the use of technology,” OpenNotes’ Homer Chin, MD, explained.

“While OpenNotes isn’t a technology itself, notes are most easily shared using existing electronic health record (EHR) platforms. This partnership allows these doctors to continue to use their knowledge to do the right thing for patients. We share the goal of getting patients, and often their families, literally ‘on the same page’ with their doctors.”

Ideally, this partnership will help drive OpenNotes’ goal of facilitating patient access to health data, which in turn may improve care outcomes.

OpenNotes representatives say research supports their mission, showing that patients who have access to their health data tend to be more empowered in their treatment.

“Our research supports those findings and suggests that OpenNotes may be a powerful way to enhance engagement,” said Jan Walker, RN, MBA, co-founder of OpenNotes. “Patients tell us they feel more in control of their care and are more likely to follow up on recommendations.”

The organization also argues that patient access to health data is a critical component of patient safety by promoting accountability and allowing more people to understand a patient’s treatment plan.

“With OpenNotes, clinicians’ thinking becomes far more transparent, and that holds both complex and exciting implications for patients, for their family members, and for the host of health providers who care for them,” OpenNotes’ co-founder Tom Delbanco explained. “This is particularly true for vulnerable populations, and patients with a large burden of chronic illness, including mental illness.”

Through this partnership with AMDIS, OpenNotes hopes to expand even further than its current reach. Presently, OpenNotes has inspired nearly 600 physicians to share their notes from over 1.2 million patient encounters.

By the end of 2017, the group aims to have over 8,000 doctors working with the OpenNotes philosophy, and within the next three years the organization hopes to impact over 50 million individuals.

According to OpenNotes representatives, such lofty goals are achievable with the support of their partners, including AMDIS.

“OpenNotes is a game changer but only if our health systems do it and do it well,” said John Santa, MD, Director of Dissemination for OpenNotes. “We are exploring multiple strategies to spread OpenNotes to the folks who overwhelmingly want it – patients. The support of the AMDIS membership – physician leaders in information technology in their respective organizations – is critical for enabling patients to take more control of their health care.”

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