A Note from Cait

I’ve been at OpenNotes for more than a year now, and it’s clear to me that many clinicians continue to worry that open notes will adversely affect their workload, and that some patients will become confused or anxious after reading their notes. Our findings continue to suggest that such fears are in large part unwarranted, yet the anxieties persist!

Such concerns are certainly present among mental health clinicians, and as a result most of their notes remain closed. While that might seem like a way to protect patients, our mental health specialist, Steve O’Neill, LICSW, JD, says this could actually be contributing to the stigma many already feel. He's been sharing notes with his patients for more than 35 years, believing that such practice can be therapeutic in its own right and that it helps reduce stigma by sending a strong message that patients are capable partners in their own care. In addition to our toolkit for mental health clinicians , Steve has now helped us develop a new mental health resource for patients and families. We hope that health systems will read it and consider expanding their practice to bring the benefits of open notes to patients in treatment for mental illnesses. You can hear more from Steve in his podcast with University of Iowa Healthcare .
Featuring from Iowa, Chief Medical Information Officer Dr. Maia Hightower and psychiatrist Dr. Alexander Thompson , and social worker, Steve O’Neill , OpenNotes Mental Health Specialist.

"If we have any comfort that what we’re doing is not alchemy, but actually a part of medicine, ... we’re disrespecting ourselves also by suggesting that these notes are different than other medical records," says Thompson.
Developed with input from patients to help break down the barriers to care and encourage more people to get the care they need.

"The results do suggest that offering select patients easy access to psychiatry notes is not 'toxic' and in fact may improve treatment in an outpatient setting in an academic medical center," Torous says.
How to write an Open Note for patients , wise words from University of Colorado CMIO, Dr. CT Lin

"Don’t Panic! Despite physician fears, patients are not looking for a completely rewritten layperson-friendly note. Many patients find it useful just to have access and be able to show that note to their next healthcare provider. You DON’T have to change a thing."

UVM's Patient and Family Advisors were involved in every step of the June 2017 roll out. Learn more about the roles Patient and Family Advisors can have in OpenNotes in our PFAC Toolkit .
Join us! OpenNotes on location in Washington, D.C.
Implementing Patient- and Family-Centered Care and OpenNotes: Building Mutually Beneficial Partnerships : D.C. area clinicians, patients, consumer advocates, health IT and policy experts are invited to join us on Friday, October 20, in Washington D.C. for a one-day meeting co-organized with The Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care (IPFCC). This is an important part of collaborative efforts to enhance quality, safety, and the experience of care in ambulatory settings. Send questions to Deb Wachenheim at dwachenh@bidmc.harvard.edu or click here to register.
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