OpenNotes promotes transparency in medical records

OpenNotes promotes transparency in medical records

You've just walked out of a clinic appointment with your UMMC physician. You wish you'd written down what the doctor explained as she typed up her notes and listened more closely to what your blood test results meant.

Patients can get quick and secure access to the notes their providers take during outpatient visits by using a form of communication advocated by a national nonprofit organization. It's called OpenNotes, an initiative that UMMC providers will take part in beginning Sunday, Jan. 8.

According to its creators, OpenNotes promotes transparency in medical records and empowers patients to not only monitor their care, but catch errors in caregivers' notes that could result in harm. It creates a new partnership between patients and their providers.

On its website, the OpenNotes organization estimates patients quickly forget up to 80 percent of the verbal information their caregivers provide to them.

“This helps the patient understand what they've been told in clinic,” said Dr. Louis Harkey, Robert R. Smith Chair of Neurosurgery, who's helping to spearhead the effort. “And this can have huge safety benefits if a patient finds an error.

"This creates a collaborative relationship between the patient and provider.”

“It's definitely a culture shift for us, that's for sure,” said Dr. Shannon Pittman, professor of family medicine and director of the Family Medicine Residency Program. “But it will create lots of opportunity to adopt the culture of 'The information in the record is the patient's information.'”

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Practice makes pitch perfect

You're a time traveler, transported back to the year 1760. You take your cell phone out of your pocket, expecting a call from the future. Then a passer-by asks, “What's that?”

How do you explain to your new friend what a cell phone is and how it works?

No, it's not a “Back to the Future” sequel. It was a communication exercise during the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences career opportunities and professional development seminar series in October. 

The seminars teach graduate students and postdoctoral fellows about career paths and the relevant skill sets. This month's topic was crafting an elevator pitch.

“The elevator pitch is a concise overview of an idea, project or solution,” said Dr. Lique Coolen, associate dean of postdoctoral studies in the graduate school.

While the origin of the term elevator pitch isn't clear or simple, the act itself should be. It's usually prompted by that ubiquitous question, “So, what do you do for a living?” The pitch is your answer.

“The purpose is to get people interested in a topic and encourage them to continue this discussion with you,” said Coolen, who coordinates the seminar series. “That discussion could be a simple exchange of business cards or a coffee break at Starbucks.”

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Practice makes pitch perfect

IMPLICIT training to boost healthy births by reaching moms before pregnancy

IMPLICIT training to boost healthy births by reaching moms before pregnancy

New mothers might skimp on their own doctor visits, but typically they will make sure their babies get to pediatric appointments.

That theory, backed by research, is the basis of IMPLICIT, an acronym for Interventions to Minimize Preterm and Low Birth Weight Infants through Continuous Improvement Techniques.

Started in 2003 as a collaboration of family medical residency programs in the northeastern U.S., IMPLICIT's aim is to reduce the number of preterm births. Since then, more than 500 residents have been trained and more than 13,000 babies have been delivered. The average network preterm birth rate is less than 10 percent.

In Mississippi, about 13 percent of babies are born before the 37th week of pregnancy. Among African-American mothers, that rate is 44 percent higher than the rate among all other women. Nationally, the rate of premature birth is 9.6 percent.

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Vandy anesthesiologist's presentation highlights week's events

A couple of interesting seminars is scheduled for the upcoming week at the Medical Center.

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Vandy anesthesiologist's presentation highlights week's events
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