Public Release: 

AMDIS and OpenNotes announce partnership to empower patients

Organizations believe a fully transparent medical record is the right thing to do for patients

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

LAKE ALMANOR, CA - The Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS) and OpenNotes have announced a partnership to advance transparency in health care and enhance patient and clinician communication by inviting patients to read and engage with the contents of their medical records. The announcement was made today at the AMDIS Physician-Computer Connection Symposium in Ojai, CA.

"Our partnership with OpenNotes is an opportunity for us to support the AMDIS mission of improving health care through the use of information technology, by empowering patients with their own health information," said William Bria, MD, Chairman of the Board of AMDIS.

Founded in 1997, AMDIS is committed to advancing the field of medical informatics and improving the practice of medicine. Its members are physician leaders in health care information technology.

"These are doctors who are extremely savvy about technology and play a leadership role in advancing the use of technology," said Homer Chin, MD, who leads efforts to integrate health information technology further with OpenNotes. "While OpenNotes isn't a technology itself, notes are most easily shared using existing electronic health record (EHR) platforms. This partnership allows these doctors to continue to use their knowledge to do the right thing for patients. We share the goal of getting patients, and often their families, literally 'on the same page' with their doctors."

Studies consistently show that engaged patients have better outcomes.

"Our research supports those findings and suggests that OpenNotes may be a powerful way to enhance engagement," said Jan Walker, RN, MBA, co-founder of OpenNotes and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC). "Patients tell us they feel more in control of their care and are more likely to follow up on recommendations."

New research suggests that having a second set of eyes on the record may also be an important way to improve patient safety. And record sharing using OpenNotes may play a vital role in helping care partners, from pediatrics through geriatrics, make better, more informed decisions about their loved ones' care.

"Open Notes is fundamental to shifting the center of care from the health care system to the individual person, and while there are many components to this critical shift, the seminal role of OpenNotes is clear," said John Mattison, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer, Kaiser Permanente, Southern California. "In our system, we now have more than 600 doctors sharing notes with more than 1.2 million patient encounters, and that number is growing exponentially. We expect all 8,000 doctors to be using OpenNotes by the end of 2017."

In 2010 BIDMC, Harborview Medical Center, and Geisinger Health System launched a research and evaluation study examining the impact of inviting patients to read clinician notes using secure, online patient portals. At the end of a year, patients who read their notes, reported feeling more in control of their care and having better recall, knowledge, and understanding of their medical conditions. In addition, 85 percent of patients said that access to their notes would positively influence their choice of health care providers. The study began with 20,000 patients. And the number of patients who now have ready access to their EHR notes has expanded to more than eight million nationwide.

"With OpenNotes, clinicians' thinking becomes far more transparent, and that holds both complex and exciting implications for patients, for their family members, and for the host of health providers who care for them. This is particularly true for vulnerable populations, and patients with a large burden of chronic illness, including mental illness," said Tom Delbanco, MD, co-founder of OpenNotes, a primary care doctor at BIDMC, and the Koplow-Tullis Professor of General Medicine and Primary Care at HMS.

The goal is to expand OpenNotes to 50 million people within three years.

"OpenNotes is a game changer but only if our health systems do it and do it well," said John Santa, MD, Director of Dissemination for OpenNotes and former Medical Director at Consumer Reports. "We are exploring multiple strategies to spread OpenNotes to the folks who overwhelmingly want it - patients. The support of the AMDIS membership - physician leaders in information technology in their respective organizations - is critical for enabling patients to take more control of their health care."

Drs. Santa and Chin will be presenting the latest information about OpenNotes at the AMDIS Annual Symposium being held on June 21- 24 in Ojai, California.



In 1997, Dr. William Bria, Chairman of the Board and Rich Rydell, MBA, CEO, started the Association of Medical Directors of Information Systems (AMDIS), to fill a necessary gap - a professional organization for physicians involved in health information technology. Since its formation, AMDIS has evolved to become the premier professional organization for physicians responsible for health care information technology, providing extensive networking and educational opportunities for individuals involved in day-to-day operational issues involving HIT. AMDIS members are chief medical information officers (CMIOs) and physician leaders, decision makers, and opinion influencers, dedicated to improving the practice of medicine through the use of information technology.

About OpenNotes

OpenNotes is a national movement that invites patients, families and clinicians to come together and improve communication through shared clinicians' notes and fully transparent medical records. The movement is led by clinicians and researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Cambia Health Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Peterson Center on Healthcare. To learn more, visit

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