Catherine M. DesRoches, DrPH, a prominent health policy and public health researcher, is joining the growing OpenNotes team and the Harvard Medical School faculty. As executive director, DesRoches will lead the OpenNotes movement toward national adoption of the practice of providing patients with ready and secure access to a fully transparent medical record, including the clinician's medical notes.
DesRoches comes to OpenNotes from Mathematica Policy Research, a national firm with extensive expertise in social policy research, where she studied the use of EHRs by hospitals and physicians, the effect of health care organizations on physician practices, physician capacity to provide coordinated patient-centered care, and primary care workforce issues. DesRoches also has extensive experience leading and managing interdisciplinary research aimed at improving health system performance and quality of care.
"Cait is a world-class researcher, and we're very excited to have her join our team," says Jan Walker, RN, MBA, cofounder of OpenNotes, Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "As the OpenNotes movement continues to gain momentum, Cait's expertise will both ground us in the work we're doing to engage patients and enhance health communication. Her experience will also help us look to the future and explore opportunities to study the impact and benefits of OpenNotes as clinicians and health systems begin to use OpenNotes in daily practice."
DesRoches has worked as research scientist and project director for the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and has held faculty positions at Vanderbilt University, Simmons College of Social Work, and Harvard Medical School. Much of her work has focused on EHR adoption and organizational change.
"OpenNotes is perfectly situated in my areas of interest," DesRoches says. "I'm very much looking forward to working on disseminating the practice of OpenNotes nationally, studying the value of sharing notes, both to patients and to health systems, and looking for the innovations that will lead to further improvements."
DesRoches is the recipient of the 2015 Nursing Outlook Excellence in Practice Award, the 2010 Article of the Year, Professionalism in Practice from the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, and the 2009 Excellence in Clinical Research award from Massachusetts General Hospital. She is widely published in peer-reviewed publications, including Health Affairs, New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the Annals of Internal Medicine. She is a member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research and Academy Health, serves on the External Advisory Panel for Graduate Certificate in Survey Research Program at the University of Massachusetts, and has previously been a member of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Committee on Women's Careers at Massachusetts General Hospital.
"We're thrilled that our national search led us to Cait. There's a lot to learn about how the fully transparent health record will impact medicine and the patient, family, and clinician relationship. Cait is a master at posing questions that are important and then doing the hard work to discover meaningful answers," says Tom Delbanco, MD, cofounder of OpenNotes and Koplow–Tullis Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.