Coalition Seeks to Strengthen Engagement of Care Partners

Aug. 15, 2022
Co-founders from OpenNotes, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health say research shows providing resources for care partners has a profound effect on the quality of care

The nonprofit OpenNotes organization and the Roger C. Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have launched the Coalition for Care Partners, an effort to build knowledge and tools to strengthen health system capacity to identify, engage, and support care partners in care delivery.

The Coalition notes that care partners co-manage care in many different ways. They may arrange or schedule services, join patients in visits, or provide emotional support. They may participate in making important decisions about care. Care partners are often family members, but may also be neighbors, friends, or others with a close relationship. Care partners may or may not be involved in the provision of hands-on assistance with daily activities.

Research published by the by Lipitz Center and at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has found that working with and providing resources for care partners has a profound effect on the quality of care and uptake in using healthcare services. However, resources for care partners are not often supported in care delivery.

“Very few care partners report being asked by clinicians and other healthcare workers about their need for help in managing the care,” said Cait DesRoches, Dr.P.H., executive director of OpenNotes, and an associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, in a statement.

Led by Jennifer Wolff, Ph.D., the Eugene and Mildred Lipitz Professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and DesRoches, the Coalition released an issue brief highlighting original research and activities that feature existing patient portal functionalities, and the developing, testing, and scaling of new consumer-oriented technologies to effectively engage care partners.

At a most basic level, healthcare workers should be asking care partners about their capacity and knowledge—this information is necessary and appropriate when the care partner is essential to coordinating or enacting a patient’s care plan,” said Wolff, in a statement.

The Coalition for Care Partners is supported by the John A. Hartford Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, Cambia Health Foundation, and the National Institute on Aging.

Project partners include Archangels, Beth Israel Lahey Health, Catholic Health, Providence, UC Health, University of Rochester Medical Center, University of Utah Health, VNS Health, and Weill Cornell Medicine.