UCHealth launches OurNotes: how patients co-author clinic progress notes

As of November 2, 70 primary care practices went live with Our Notes. Read more about OurNotes here. Dr. Tom Delbanco and Jan Walker, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess initiated and ran the study.

In brief, it is a way for patients, just ahead of an upcoming appointment to tell their provider what has happened to them since their last visit: changes in medication, new or changing symptoms, life changes. And then to ask up to 3 questions they’d like to discuss with their provider at the visit.

These notes were then automatically inserted into the providers’ progress notes. They could then be cited in their entirety, with no action needed by the provider while composing the rest of their progress note. Or, the provider could edit for clarity before signing the note. In this way, both patient and provider contribute the data from that visit, improving communication and collaboration.

We were so successful from our pilot test, conducted in coordination with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), in our one primary care clinic, we have now launched it for ALL primary care clinics throughout UCHealth.

Our early findings showed that over 90% of providers (physicians and APP’s: advance practice providers) responding to surveys viewed OurNotes positively and wanted to continue, as did over 90% of patients who participated.

Not all patients who have a patient-portal account respond to the OurNotes questionnaire ahead of their visit. Those who do not, have a regular visit, just like before. About 15-20% of patients who have an appointment respond send an OurNote, and providers are using the notes regularly.

Others are catching the OurNotes trend as well, including Sanford health, UCLA, and the original OurNotes health system research partners: BIDMC, University of Washington and Dartmouth-Hitchock. Thank you to all the trailblazers out there for transforming patient-centered care.

CMIO’s take? More like this please! IT is a win-win-win: better engagement for patients, shared documentation for providers, more readable, narrative notes in our EHR’s.

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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