New big kid on the block: VA joins OpenNotes as a partner. Tipping Point?

Today the MyOpenNotes website announced the Veterans Health Administration joining the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation initiative as a partner. Providers partners – Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, Geisinger Health System, MD Anderson Cancer Center – are fully committed to give patients online access to clinical notes.

ON Sharing VA

The VA’s more than 1 million authenticated users of My HealtheVet personal health record can use Blue Button ‘Download My Data’ to view, download or print all clinical notes in their health record, plus get test and imaging results. Plus a Continuity of Care Document summary of their health information. Does it include specialist notes? Yes! Mental health notes? Yes! Emergency room notes? Hospital discharge notes? Yes, yes and yes! How cool is that?

As the VA goes, so goes the nation? Hope springs eternal for 2013 to be the OpenNotes tipping point, leading to rapid dissemination of Blue Button WITH NOTES.

There are lots of people who had the vision for this, and have worked very, very hard over the years to make this happen. Just to cite a few:
Rob Kolodner, MD, former CHIO, and Ginger Price, former My HealtheVet Program Manager;
Theresa Hancock, Director, Veterans/Consumer Health Informatics Office (V/CHIO);
– Paul Nichol, MD, and Linda Kinsinger, MD, former Chairs, My HealtheVet Clinical Advisory Board;
Kim Nazi, PhD, V/CHIO Analyst, PHR expert & researcher;
Peter Levin, PhD, former CTO & Blue Button pioneer;
– so many dedicated federal leaders and workers;]
Markle Connecting for Health Workgroup, original Blue Button Think-Tank.
– Carnetta Scruggs, My HealtheVet Development Team; and of course
– Veterans and families, who consistently ASK for access to their health information, including NOTES…

A huge shout out and thank you to all OpenNotes leaders, supporters, promoters, researchers, and users. In particular to the leadership of Drs. Tom Delbanco and Jan Walker!

I’ve commented before how Blue Button is just the beginning of the Deep Blue Sea (it’s a jelly fish, after all…). With the VA now meeting this audacious goal…the sea just got a lot less deep. The last mile is to make the information much more user-friendly…easy to use and easy to read and act on. In other words, have the notes and shared health data serve be flotation device as they go for a swim 🙂

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