Those with complex medical conditions often rely heavily on their own ability to communicate their symptoms in short — and sometimes stressful — healthcare visits. We have recently seen Ginger.io, a smartphone app which uses big data to improve communication between patients and clinicians in between visits, and now OurNotes is a Commonwealth grant funded program that will enable patients to contribute to their own electronic medical records.
The scheme, currently being researched at Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston and four other sites in the US, is part of a countrywide initiative called OpenNotes, which has already enabled five million patients to read their medical records online. Since an initial pilot scheme in 2012, OpenNotes has met with great success — creating improved communication between patients and doctors, and making patients feel more in control of their healthcare and treatments.
The new OurNotes scheme is expected to have particular benefits for medically complex patients who have have multiple chronic health conditions. It will enable patients to make notes on an upcoming visit, listing topics and questions they want to cover. In turn, this presents doctors with an opportunity to prepare and research for tricky or niche questions before meeting their patient. The platform will also encourage users to review their treatment plans and sign off on notes from their doctor, making sure everyone is on the same page. The research team hope it will result in more efficient and effective treatments, with higher quality care and more engaged patients.
Are there other personal records that could be made available to consumers to give them a better understanding of their situations?