Grant Awarded to BIDMC

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) received a $450,000 grant from the Commonwealth Fund to develop “OurNotes” an initiative inviting patients to contribute to their own electronic medical records.

OurNotes is an extension of OpenNotes, a movement to enable patients to have ready online access to their clinician’s notes concerning their visits. OpenNotes is increasingly accepted by patients, families, providers, and institutions in the U.S. The number of patients who can read their medical notes online has risen to more than 5 million nationwide.

According to Jan Walker, RN at the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at BIDMC and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, “Patients benefit from reading their visit notes. We believe that OurNotes enabling patients to contribute to their own medical records has the potential to further enhance communication and engage patients in managing illness more effectively and efficiently.”

The Commonwealth Fund grant will support work at five sites including the original OpenNotes study partner BIDMC, but also at the Geisinger Health System, the Harborview Medical Center along with more recent OpenNotes adopters, Group Health Cooperative and Mosaic Life Care

The multicenter team will work with industry experts, clinicians, and patients on a user-centered design process focusing initially on primary care. This phase will require clinicians to answer questions about the kind of information they think would be helpful to receive from patients.

At the same time, patients will contribute information on what they think would be helpful in their notes. Findings from this initial phase of work will be used to develop prototypes at each site and conduct pilot testing to lead towards formal clinical trials.

“We envision OurNotes to be used as a therapeutic intervention that will prove effective over time for a wide range of patients, especially those struggling with chronic health concerns,” reports, Co-Investigator Jonathan Darer, MD, Chief Innovation Officer at Geisinger.

He adds, “We expect this process to enlighten our understanding of patient and family engagement and its role in reducing healthcare costs, increase shared accountability, improve the health of those patients with chronic illness and multiple comorbidities and more importantly, enhance the overall patient experience of care.”

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