How OpenNotes Paves the Way for New Channels of Patient Engagement

For years, standard medical practice held that a doctor’s notes were for doctor’s eyes only. That practice was borne partly out of practicality. While it’s true that a patient’s health record belongs to the patient, it wasn’t practical or convenient for a patient to come down to the physician’s office, have staff pull the file, and then make the file available to the patient. But today, electronic medical records permit patients fast and convenient access to their medical history and offering better ways to promote patient engagement.

Hospitals and physician practices are becoming more open about sharing their notes. Some facilities are formally experimenting with the sharing doctor notes. OpenNotes started in 2010 as a trial to evaluate the sharing of doctor notes would be received at three hospitals in three different parts of the country. In that initial trial, more than 20,000 patients had access to the notes of 100 primary care doctors. Today, OpenNotes has provided as many as 10 million patients access to the notes of their physicians, MobiHealthNews reported.

Tom Delbanco, co-director of OpenNotes, told a gathering of health professionals in Boston that technology is giving patients more than access to their health information. It’s giving them control. In time, patients will stop using electronic health records or patient portals, opting instead to carry their doctor notes on a personal mobile device, Delbanco said, according to MobiHealthNews. Patients could even share select information on social media, turning to the masses to crowdsource advice.

OpenNotes program has been welcomed by both doctors and patients. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, one of the original hospitals that pilot tested the program, published a 2015 study describing benefits from the program. The hospital found that sharing notes helped both doctors and patients, MobiHealthNews explained. Patients got a more complete understanding of their care and doctors paid better attention to the accuracy of their notes. OpenNotes isn’t available everywhere. But the success that it has had so far makes the case for expanding the program to more locations.

Improving patient engagement as well as the patient’s journey is an on-going focus for the entire healthcare industry, including pharmaceuticals. Be sure to attend Digital Pharma East, taking place October 24-27, 2016 in Philadelphia, PA to learn how you can help your organization improve patient engagement and enhance their healthcare experience. This year’s event brings together more than 800 pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device innovators who are implementing company-wide digital ecosystems to embed digital health across all channels to enhance customer experience. To learn more about this event please download the brochure or visit the website. Click here to register and be sure to mention Priority Code C649BLOG.

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