What People Are Saying


“By having the opportunity to review their medical records, maybe we can…get the message across that… your health is really your responsibility, not all ours. It’s a partnership.”

– A doctor at Geisinger Health System

“Just about every health system in town has a portal. So on all them you can now see your medication list, your diagnosis list, many times you can e-mail your doctor, or see discharge instructions. So those are all a step forward…OpenNotes is the next step where you can actually see the narrative of what your doctor is writing…To draw an analogy- for most portals you’re reading the table of contents of your health care book. With OpenNotes, you’re reading the chapters.”

– Marc Horneffer, MD, of Columbia St. Mary’s

“The patients loved it, and it had absolutely no impact on me really at all. It was amazing how little impact it had.”

– David Ives, MD (participating in OpenNotes), in American Medical News, 12/29/11

“I’m in the camp that thinks the benefits [of OpenNotes] will probably outweigh the downsides.”

– Nancy Keating, MD, in Harvard Health Letter, 12/20/11

“Transparency leads to a better understanding of their illness and hopefully better compliance to treatment plans and prevention. This moves the patient to be an active and no longer passive participant in their care.”

– W. Douglas Weaver, MD, in Cardiology Today, 12/19/11

“Although physicians occasionally complain about the time it takes to explain something they wrote, feedback from both patients and physicians has generally been positive. Patients have become avid readers of their notes.”

– Thomas W. Feeley, MD, and Kenneth I. Shine, MD, of MD Anderson, University of Texas, in Annals of Internal Medicine editorial, 12/19/11


“It’s like having another mini-doctor visit (and you don’t have to pay any co-pay!)”

– Diane Swietzer, a patient at Columbia St. Mary’s

“…[OpenNotes] gives me an opportunity to have a real good dialogue with my physician, to make sure that we’re both on the same page…”

– A patient at BIDMC

“I have no idea what I’ll find in my doctor’s notes, but I think it may help me in the long run…”

– A patient at BIDMC

“Patients have to take responsibility [for their health] too, and OpenNotes is the kind of playing field leveler that can help that happen.”

– Mike Meltsner (participating in OpenNotes), in Healthcare Savvy blog from WBUR (Boston’s NPR affiliate), 12/19/11

“If you are a patient that just goes in once a year for a checkup, the doctor’s notes might be not that useful. But if you have a lot of medical problems, it helps you ask the doctor the right questions and lets you know what’s going on.”

– Jeanne Hallissey (participating in OpenNotes), in The Wall Street Journal, 7/20/10

“I didn’t expect to get much out of it; as I told a friend, ‘I’m not sick!’ Yet, the very first time I used it, I noticed something from my visit that I’d already forgotten. And that made me realize I’m not as observant, adherent, engaged as I thought.”

– Dave deBronkart (participating in OpenNotes), on “E-Patient Dave,” E-Patients.net, 6/30/10

“I have found, as I get older, I need more visits to the doctor, and there are more things we need to talk about…I find having them written down helps a lot.”

– Linda Johnson (participating in OpenNotes), in The Seattle Times, 12/25/11

Health Care Executives

“What we see increasingly is that engaged patients have better outcomes.”

– Kevin Tabb, MD, President and CEO, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

“From my point of view, I feel there is no question that the standard of care should include patients’ access to their notes.”

–Steven Weinberger, MD, FACP, Vice President & CEO, American College of Physicians


“I think transparency is a good trend in this area, in this field, in medicine, because our sense that the doctor is sort of the gatekeeper of all this information is probably an old-fashioned one. And while it’s not going to be easy, I think it’s a good trend.”

– Alice Park of TIME, on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, 1/5/12

“The findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, do more than shed light on what patients want. They make our current ideas about transparency in the patient-doctor relationship a quaint artifact of the past.”

-Pauline Chen, of the New York Times, 10/4/12


“The medical record is information that really belongs to the patient, but it’s treated like a classified document. It’s symbolic of the power differential in health care.”

– Susan B. Frampton of Planetree, a nonprofit organi­zation that promotes patient-centered approaches to health care, in The New York Times, 1/9/12

“OpenNotes may be one of the most important investigations made into the patient physician relationship in the last 40 years, because it could set a new norm for collaboration and patient autonomy, in addition to physician autonomy, in health care.

We didn’t have to wait for electronic health record systems to test this ability; however, EHRs will make it possible to generalize and implement the results across a population, which is why they are a critical ingredient in this work.”

-Ted Eytan, MD, MS, MPH, Kaiser Permanente, on “TedEytan.com,” 9/27/12

“Tom Delbanco is actively studying the consequences of permitting patients routine access to their medical notes, which I suspect will become standard practice.”

– Ann Nattinger, MD, MPH, Medical College of Wisconsin, in SGIM Forum, 11/2012