Patient Data Access News

OpenNotes, CHIME Partner for Patient Access to Health Information

An OpenNotes and CHIME partnership will help more providers adopt the practice of sharing their notes with patients, improving patient access to health information.

By Sara Heath

- OpenNotes, a project geared toward improving patient access to health information and patient engagement, is growing through a new partnership with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).


Announced as a part of President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative Summit, this partnership will encourage patients to become partners in their own healthcare.

“We are seeing a tremendous swing toward value-based care and consumerism in healthcare,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO. “Patient engagement is a big part of that movement, but to be true partners in their care, patients must have access not only to their basic health records, but the notes that clinicians make during appointments. This partnership with OpenNotes is a terrific opportunity to promote innovative change in medical practice designed to increase patient engagement.”

Since its start in 2010, OpenNotes has been instrumental in instigating communication and engagement between patient and provider by making physician notes available via a secure online portal. Patients who have been given this access have reported feeling more empowered in their healthcare, and 85 percent of patients have reported that having access to their physicians’ notes would influence their decision in which providers from whom to seek care.

Projects like OpenNotes are critical for the healthcare space right now as few patients report access to health information, despite the clear shift from paper to electronic health records.

CHIME will help expand these services through their partnership with OpenNotes, encouraging its organization members to adopt the philosophy and practice. In turn, CHIME members will theoretically see an improvement in the care that they are delivering and move closer to achieving healthcare’s triple aim of better patient experience, lower costs, and overall better healthcare.

“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.

OpenNotes leaders hope that this partnership will help the project grow closer to its goals going forward.

“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., 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.”

OpenNotes has been growing through other recent partnerships. At the end of last year, the program announced partnerships with Cambria Health Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Peterson Center on Healthcare, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that will help touch more healthcare organizations, and in turn more patients. In sum, OpenNotes hopes to help 50 million patients gain access to physician notes.

The ideal outcomes of OpenNotes will also be integral in supporting the Precision Medicine Initiative, which aims to provide unique and specialized treatment plans to individual patients rather than researching general treatments. By helping to facilitate better health information exchange between all members of the care team – including the patient – better and more individualized treatment plans will ideally improve.


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