Late last month, House Representative Rodney Davis read a prepared statement on the Congress floor about Springfield Clinic’s involvement with making clinical notes more accessible to patients.
The action follows December meetings with five Illinois congresspeople—three representatives and the two senators—in Washington, D.C., where Springfield Clinic representatives with the support of OpenNotes and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) discussed accessibility of provider notes by patients. “Our involvement in this project does not end with the return from Washington,” says Springfield Clinic Director of Health Information Management Matt Costa.
While meeting with Illinois congresspeople in Washington, D.C., the OpenNotes team provided each senator and representative with materials for taking further action to promote accessible clinical notes. This included a document detailing the OpenNotes project and Springfield Clinic’s involvement, a letter to send to the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asking that clinical notes be added to the category of information which must be easily accessible to patients and a congressional record statement to be read on the congress floor. Representative Rodney Davis read this statement on February 27, 2018.
Springfield Clinic launched OpenNotes in 2008 and currently mandates that its clinicians share all notes, with the exception of behavioral health notes or those of adolescents between 12 and 17. “We believe a push from HHS to include open notes in the interoperability debate could help establish accessible clinical notes as a national standard of care,” says Matt Costa. Springfield Clinic staff members have indicated that OpenNotes has improved patient engagement and care coordination.