There’s no place quite like Portland, Oregon. It’s creative, hip, progressive, and a foodie’s paradise. It needs to be all those things because it rains approximately 160 days each year. Portland’s uniqueness makes it an ideal spot to try out new ideas—even when it comes to medical records, which typically aren’t associated with terms such as “exciting” and “groundbreaking.” But 30 years ago, a lot of folks felt the same about coffee, and the Northwest proved them wrong.
In the past few years, more medical communities have become familiar with OpenNotes, a national movement to make sharing clinician notes and fully transparent medical records the standard of care. Research led by Tom Delbanco, MD, and Jan Walker, RN, MBA, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Geisinger Health System in rural Pennsylvania, and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, has brought to life what secure, easy access to medical records could do for consumers.
What a concept: Clinicians making their notes readily available, which is something that, according to Delbanco and Walker’s 2010 study, 99% of patients said they wanted.
A Better Future
In Portland and southwest Washington state, We Can Do Better, a small consumer organization, agreed to host a community meeting in June 2013 to discuss OpenNotes. A nonprofit dedicated to bringing together people who share the values of better health care for all, We Can Do Better was interested in exploring how health systems and large medical groups can start sharing notes with patients.
In the spring of 2013, I joined the discussion at a community center in Portland’s Hoyt Arboretum. Phone calls were made to contacts in each system or medical group we thought may be able to influence a decision to implement OpenNotes. We also reached out to representatives from consumer and professional organizations, government, and local employers.
Read more at For the Record