Combined experience will help guide the spread of access to clinical notes to 50 million patients nationwide
BOSTON, Feb. 24, 2016 – National health care leaders, John Santa, MD, MPH, Homer Chin, MD, MS, and Amy Fellows, MPH, have joined the OpenNotes team. The three bring decades of expertise in information technology and population health to the expanding OpenNotes movement.
OpenNotes is a national initiative that urges health care institutions and clinicians to offer patients ready access to notes written by providers after a medical visit. Evidence shows that this type of transparency in health care leads to more active patient engagement, with patients reporting far more control of their own health and healthcare.
In the three years since the results of an initial OpenNotes study were published, the number of patients with ready access to their notes has grown from 20,000 to more than five million. The goal now is to expand open access to notes so that this new practice becomes the national standard of care.
“These three, outstanding individuals bring to OpenNotes considerable healthcare industry and IT expertise, along with vital clinical and consumer perspectives,” said Tom Delbanco, MD, co-founder of OpenNotes and Koplow–Tullis Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
John Santa, MD, MPH, Director of Dissemination for OpenNotes, will take a vital leadership role in bringing the OpenNotes movement to clinical sites throughout the country.
Santa has more than 40 years of experience in clinical medicine and administration, having worked in leadership positions for hospitals, physician groups, insurers, state government, and consumer organizations. Drawing on his expertise in national rollouts of healthcare initiatives, he initiated the Northwest OpenNotes Consortium, whose members now offer more than a million patients access to their notes.
Before joining OpenNotes, Santa was Medical Director for the Drug Effectiveness Review Project, one of the country’s most robust comparative effectiveness programs, as well as the Director of the Health Ratings Center at Consumer Reports from 2008 to 2014. The Ratings Center focuses on explicit approaches for evaluating and comparing health services, products, institutions, and practitioners. He is a board member and Treasurer of the National Physicians Alliance and a resident of Oregon.
“Transparency was my top priority in clinical practice and at Consumer Reports. I am thrilled to be part of a movement that brings that to millions of individual patients,” said Santa. ”If you’re healthy, clinician notes are interesting, educating, and help you set priorities. But, if you’re sick and want to be a full-fledged member of your own health care team, easy access to clinician notes is a game changer.”
Homer Chin, MD, MS, will lead efforts to integrate Health Information Technology further with OpenNotes. He has extensive knowledge of medical informatics and electronic health systems and will work closely with electronic health record vendors, helping them to develop sophisticated methods for supporting OpenNotes.
Chin is an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Medical Informatics and Outcomes Research at the Oregon Health and Science University and a member of the board of OCHIN, a not-for-profit organization that provides information and management services to safety-net clinics in support of the medically underserved.
Chin was previously the Associate Medical Director for Medical Informatics at Kaiser Permanente Northwest, where he pioneered efforts to implement an award-winning comprehensive computer-based outpatient record.
“With the advent of the electronic health record it becomes much easier to share notes among providers, and as a logical extension, with patients. In light of the many benefits of doing so, it is time that we engage and empower patients by providing them easy access to their own medical information,” said Chin. “We also have opportunities to work with EHR developers to enhance the patient experience and make it easier for them to interact with notes.”
Amy Fellows, MPH, joins OpenNotes to focus on Community Health Programs, with particular attention to individuals who are medically underserved. She brings considerable experience in working to introduce electronic health records to the increasing number of vulnerable populations served by the OpenNotes movement.
Fellows is the Executive Director of We Can Do Better, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for education and engagement, bringing people together who share the values of better health care and health for all. Under Fellow’s leadership, We Can Do Better convened the Northwest OpenNotes Consortium, which currently includes all nine major health systems in the Portland, Oregon metro area. The group continues to expand, adding practices of all sizes, but has already allowed more than one million patients access to their medical notes through patient portals.
“OpenNotes is proving invaluable for helping patients take charge of their health,” said Fellows. “I’m proud to be part of this movement whose goal is to help all patients and families take a more active role in their personal health care.”