If your health system or clinician’s office makes notes available online via a secure patient portal, that is the easiest way to access your notes.
1. The first step is registering for a patient portal account. Most health systems provide online access to your medical information through a password-protected, secure internet site. Called a patient portal, this is where your medical information, such as test results or medication lists, is visible. If you’re not sure a portal is available, or it’s not clear how to get your own account, contact the doctor’s office or health system and ask for assistance in registering. You can also ask the staff to help you register during your next visit.
2. Step two is to look for a tab or link on your patient portal that says “notes,” “clinic notes,” “progress notes,” “visit notes,” or “opennotes.” Sometimes they are hard to find. If so, call your doctor’s office for help getting to the right place. You can also ask for help at your next appointment.
3. If your health system doesn’t share notes online, ask for them! Reading your medical record, including notes, is a federally protected right, and most providers have processes for making copies for patients who request them. You can also ask your clinician to give/mail/email a copy of the note after the visit. Among the many potential benefits, it will certainly help you remember what was discussed.