My Health Report : An After Visit Summary designed by Open Source Medicine at Wayne State University

I met Sean Mutchnick, a Wayne State University School of Medicine student (class of 2014) at the TEDx AlvaPark event last week, and mentioned his work with the group Open Source Medicine at Wayne State with a promise to elaborate more on it here.

Sean wanted me to know, and wanted to know:

I am a huge proponent of ‘open source’ and collaboration, and more practically in not re-inventing any functional wheels – If you know of any services similar to what we are trying to achieve with MHR, I would love to hear about them!

And in this era of social media, I think it’s fine to say, “I don’t know and let’s ask the crowd!” so here we are.

“MHR” above refers to My Health Report, which is a discussion/after visit tool, with good design, in English and now Chinese, that medical students are using to counsel patients at health fairs, but with a bigger vision:

We really want to launch this project as a community-powered, self-sustaining entity and our first step is to spread the word beyond the health fair and clinical opportunities available to WSU SOM students.

And here’s a sample of what My Health Report looks like, you can also see a synopsis of the project here, and posts on how the My Health Report is being used here.

What do you think? Pretty good design, right? What’s your advise for Sean and OSM about how to scale this and integrate into electronic health records and/or are you doing this already? Feel free to post in the comments here, or on the OSM blog, link above.

Sean also asked me what I think of the concept of after visit summary and there’s no question that I think a lot about it, as you can read in these blog posts.

There are a few questions about it that I’d like to address here:

  • Does it take more time? If you do it right, it should take less time, because you’re building it during the visit, with the patient, and at the end of the visit, you’ll have less explaining to do, because you’ve been teaching all along. That’s the short run. In the long run, it takes a lot less time, because there’s nothing more frustrating for everyone than physician advice not followed because it was unclear. That leads into the question that’s deeper than the one here, which is
  • Whose time are you considering? if you’re considering the patient’s as important as yours, then asking them to leave a visit without clear instructions about the assessment and next steps is asking to waste their time. If you’re considering the patient’s family and caregivers, then their time is not valued either if they don’t have access to the assessment and plan after the visit.
  • Doesn’t the paper after visit summary make health care less “green”? In my opinion, no. Even though it’s laudable to prevent the printing of a few pieces of paper, I have always believed that 3 sheets of paper is much cheaper than an ER visit or a hospital admission, and how green are those things, not to mention that they are potentially devastating to patients and families when they are unnecessary.
  • Isn’t it extra work to create an after visit summary on top of required documentation? It depends – talk to your health information management professionals, they’re here to help :). It can be established that an after visit summary is part of the legal medical record, which means you can actually document in the after visit summary in an electronic health record system and have it count toward your documentation, so no duplication. And guess what, an assessment and plan printed in the after visit summary is understandable to all of the different stakeholders in a patients’ care – the patient and family, nurses, other physicians.

I’ll stop there and open the floor. Thanks to Sean and his fellow innovators for embodying the spirit of the “can” rather than the “can’t” in Detroit!


So far patients and physicians alike seem to find it beneficial. We are gearing up the software for a larger scale launch by February, 2012. Please contact us with any suggestions or to test the software.

This software sounds fantastic. This seems like a great tool to bring health knowledge to the masses – and personalized knowledge at that.

Ted Eytan, MD