Dear colleagues, allies, and friends old and new,

We could not let last week go by without recognizing open notes are now “the law of the land” here in the U.S. Something we researched, reported, disseminated, and then advocated for at health systems across the country was included in a federally mandated rule. Below is a round-up of a few headlines and articles in recent weeks.

While open notes are now a federal rule, our collective work to weave transparency into the fabric of health care has just begun.
- Cait DesRoches, DrPH Executive Director, OpenNotes
“Two weeks before the original due date, we had 44,000 individual hits to our website, with at least 2,100 hospitals among them. So transparent communication is finally gaining attention.” – Tom Delbanco, MD, Co-Founder, OpenNotes

“Just take a deep breath and try it out. Health care is always talking about how we’re going to put the patient in the center where the patient is a critical member of the team. We want the patients to have agency and take charge of their care.” — Catherine DesRoches, DrPH, Executive Director, OpenNotes 
“When notes do trigger questions, the time taken to respond is probably offset by silence from other patients finding answers to their own questions in notes they read.” – Tom Delbanco, MD, and Charlotte Blease, PhD, Keane OpenNotes Scholar
… if it weren’t for the pandemic, “this concept of full transparency to everything in the record—the notes, the labs, pathology reports—would be the biggest story in health care.” – Liz Salmi, Senior Strategist (and patient advocate), OpenNotes
Yes, you can use the OpenNotes logo

What’s the point of sharing notes if patients are not reading them? You can use the OpenNotes logo to promote the availability of open notes to your patients on communications materials and on your health system website and patient portal. If you’d like to find out about the logo use requirements contact anorris@bidmc.harvard.edu.
“The truth is that many people are going to Google their illness regardless, and if they have the specifics from their doctor’s note, they will be better able to use technology to get more accurate information…. [patients] have the most at stake and are most able to pick up inaccuracies and provide context.” – Charlotte Blease, PhD, Keane OpenNotes Scholar
“If you want to help healthcare achieve its potential to save the life of yourself, or somebody in your family, by all means, get involved. The easiest way to start getting involved is to look at what’s in your record.” – “e-Patient” Dave DeBronkart, patient advocate and OpenNotes Advisory Board Member
"For some clinicians, these new requirements may come as a shock. To patient groups, however, it is the culmination of 25 years of advocacy and relationship building with clinicians, researchers, and policy makers". – Cait DesRoches, DrPH, Executive Director, OpenNotes 
“U.S. healthcare organizations may choose to comply with the rule in a way that helps ensure patients know about their enhanced right to access and use their health information for empowerment and engagement, or they may simply keep quiet about it and hope patients don’t notice their new rights. Choosing to keep quiet would be a mistake.” – Liz Salmi, Charlotte Blease, PhD, Maria Hägglund, PhD, Jan Walker, RN, MBA, Cait DesRoches, DrPH
In case you missed it:

OpenNotes “Drop-In Clinics” attracted >350 attendees.
For two hours each day, over a five-day period, open notes experts hosted a live Q&A answering questions about open notes and the Cures “information blocking” Rule. The most commonly asked questions revolved around pediatrics and mental health, and technical/regulatory aspects of the Rule. 

Watch a full 2-hour session on YouTube with guest expert Steven Lane, MD, who serves on the Health IT Advisory Committee for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.
Next Webinar:
April 15th

Studies of open visit notes show benefits for patients and care partners that are consistent across ethnic groups, gender, socioeconomic status, and education. In fact, vulnerable populations report having greater benefits from open notes. But how have open notes fared outside of studies and within the safety net? Learn more on April 15 (webinar) and/or April 22 (office hours).

Have you learned something from OpenNotes that has helped you with your work? We’re funded entirely by grants and philanthropic gifts, and support from people like you is what makes possible our free education and resources offered through the Creative Commons. Support the study of transparency in healthcare by making a tax-deductible donation to OpenNotes.
Psst… Let us know how it is going…

Have you just started sharing (or reading) open notes? We want to hear how it has been going so far, and what you are learning out in the real world. Drop us a line at myopennotes@bidmc.harvard.edu