AHC Offers Easy Access To Healthcare Providers Notes

 Agnesian HealthCare patients who utilize Agnesian eHealth are benefiting from easier access to the notes their providers write in their medical records. And, that initiative was recognized as part of a keynote address to other healthcare providers at theHealthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) annual conference in Orlando.

            Agnesian eHealth allows patients to be a more proactive member of their care team. With Agnesian eHealth, patients can view their personal health information and laboratory results, request appointments and request a medication refill from their healthcare provider.

            The most recent addition complements efforts by the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ) who recently announced that one million more Wisconsin patients will soon have ready access to their providers’ notes.

This work represents the local implementation of OpenNotes, a national movement advocating for enhanced communication between patients and providers through shared clinicians’ notes and fully transparent medical records.

Patients have instant access to not only provider notes, but laboratory results, medications, radiology studies and their health concern list,” according to Ann Cappellari, MD, Agnesian HealthCare chief medical information officer. “They can renew medications online, request appointments and message their provider. It engages them in their own care, and it aligns with meeting the needs of a mobile and device-connected population.”

Agnesian HealthCare has been offering OpenNotes since July 2015, says Nancy Birschbach, Agnesian HealthCare vice president and chief information officer. In fact, Agnesian HealthCare was one of the initial healthcare systems in Wisconsin that launched this capability.

“All of our providers through the Fond du Lac Regional Clinic offer this easy access to important medical records. We know that our patients appreciate the convenient this gives to them, and provides an effective way to track any medical concerns and specific directions given by their providers.”

Dr. Cappellari concurs. “It is a great resource to access provider plans after a visit, to recall details of diagnoses and medical decisions. They can share health information with outside providers for the best possible care with the most recent information.”

To help expand these efforts statewide, WCHQ created a unique coalition that will facilitate knowledge and experience sharing among provider organizations as work continues collaboratively to support the promotion and implementation of OpenNotes in Wisconsin.

Jill Immerfall, 39, of Fond du Lac, values being able to review notes from her visits with multiple providers at Agnesian HealthCare.

“At some of my visits, we cover a lot of information,” Immerfall says. “It’s helpful to go back and review what was said during the visit and gives me a good reminder on the next steps I need to take for future visits. It’s easy to forget what you hear at the time, especially when you are trying to stay focused and listen to what your provider is saying.”

Agnesian HealthCare had individuals like Immerfall in mind when moving forward and supporting OpenNotes.

Agnesian Healthcare is working to transform care by making health information as easily accessible as possible so patients are better informed,” says Dr. Cappellari. “The more information patients have on their own health, the more engaged they are in medical decisions and their own plan of care.” 

The OpenNotes work is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through a grant that focuses its efforts on supporting ideas and innovations that engage consumers and providers to enhance quality, advance access and promote best practices to help people achieve healthy lives.

Today, more than 13 million U.S. patients have access to their notes. While federal law mandates a patient’s right to access their medical records, including clinician notes, obtaining copies of paper records can be time consuming and in some cases, involve costs for the patient. Electronic records provide free, easy access with the click of a button.

To learn more about Agnesian eHealth, visit agnesian.com/ehealth.

In the photo: Jill Immerfall, 39, of Fond du Lac, values being able to review notes from her visits with multiple providers at Agnesian HealthCare.