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The PSU & OHSU Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School Chapter
Author: Author: Karri Benjamin, MBA
Posted: May 10, 2013

On May 6th, 2013, the Portland State University (PSU) & Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Institute for Healthcare Improvement Open School Leadership Chapter and its community partner We Can Do Better sponsored an event at PSU with over 90 attendees. This gathering was both in-person and via a live-web stream with persons tuning in from across the state and the country including: health professions students from PSU & OHSU, community members, health services providers, and journalists. This event was focused on learning about health comparisons from DrJohn Santa, MD, MPH, the Director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.  Dr. Santa received his Masters in Public Health in Health Management and Policy at PSU in 2005. He is a proud PSU alumnus, and mentioned the importance of the mentorship provided by Sherril Gelmon, DrPH, chair of the Public Administration Division.

Dr. Santa provided an excellent overview of how Consumer Reports does comparisons, and why and how comparisons are important to consumers. Attendees witnessed how much variation there is in the health care system and how the industry has struggled to improve even when clearly unsafe practices are involved. Dr. Santa discussed overuse and waste in the health care system, especially in the context of Choosing Wisely, a national campaign for both doctors and consumers, which is targeted at explaining overuse and waste. Doing this requires a different approach--telling consumers what not to do is a very different task than telling them what to do. He then described a terrific and seemingly simple strategy to engage consumers around these issues with a system called OpenNotes. This campaign is giving patients access to their clinical/chart notes that providers are required to write. A pilot study found that nearly 100% of participating patients would like this service, and 70-80% of providers are willing to participate. Dr. Santa is working with Oregon's large health systems to help them embrace this approach in the near future. Dr. Santa and Liz Baxter, MPH, Executive Director of We Can Do Better and another PSU MPH:HMP alumna, then answered questions from the audience in response to the topics and how they relate to Oregon’s health care system.

A video recording of the event is available for viewing here.