OpenNotes is keeping patients informed and prepared. Try these 3 steps.
1. Make the most of your telemedicine visits.
To help decrease the spread of Covid-19, many healthcare providers across the country are switching from in-person visits to a telephone or video format. In face-to-face visits, health personnel often take your blood pressure, weigh you, ask if you need medications renewed, and record your main reason(s) for coming in. With telemedicine, you can help prepare. Try the following:
- Write a short update about how you’ve been doing since your last visit. These tips can help.
- List the top 2 or 3 things you want to discuss with your doctor, nurse, or therapist.
- List all the medications you’re taking. Mark which ones need a refill.
- If possible, measure and record your weight, temperature, heart rate and blood pressure. If you have diabetes and a glucometer, check your blood sugar.
Download the OpenNotes telemedicine pre-visit form
You can download and print out the pre-visit form ( Word | PDF ) and fill in your information. If your doctor asks you to, send this information before your appointment. Otherwise, have it with you during the telemedicine visit.
OurNotes for telemedicine
OpenNotes is using this pre-visit form in a new effort called “OurNotes.” Healthcare providers are reviewing the information patients provide, using it during the visit, and often inserting this information right into the notes written to describe the visit.
Do you have questions about telemedicine, OurNotes, and how to be prepared? Check out our FAQs. Take charge of your records and your care!
How have you been since your last visit?
BP has been pretty good: Feb 24 118 / 78, Mar 7 108/78, Mar 18 114/78. I was not feeling well all of Jan and Feb, cough/very low energy. Eventually got worse with fever, chills and came in - tested positive for flu. Chest X-ray was OK. Got Tamiflu. Feel much better now. BTW: I had been coughing for about 6 months, maybe more. Originally thought it was connected to meds, but I don't cough at all now.
What are the most important things you would like to discuss at your visit?
- is it possible to still get a flu shot?
- should I get my potassium level checked?
- renew prescriptions
“Day 1 of Telemedicine! Overwhelmed with trying to fit all the contents of a usual office visit into the time allotted, I was thrilled to see that one of my patients had completed her OurNotes entry! Because of this, I was able to ‘walk into’ the visit with confidence in what lay ahead. I knew what her concerns were and what the focus should be. We had plenty of time to get to her ‘list’ and also to my list of routine health care maintenance issues…and to chat about the COVID crisis and how we were each coping. What a difference from the other visits into which I ‘walked’ unprepared!”
2. Use opennotes to remember and to keep your care partners informed.
It’s very common to forget some of the things discussed during a medical visit, and sometimes you may also recall things incorrectly. This may be even more likely with telemedicine visits, especially if you don’t have a family member or friend at the visit with you to help you remember.
In your medical records, opennotes describing your visits are terrific reminders. Stress from worries about Covid-19, along with a new way of communicating, makes reviewing them even more important.
If you (or your care partner) don’t already have access to notes:
- If available, register for your practice’s patient portal, if you are not already signed up
- Ask if your record notes are available and, if it helps you, share them with others involved in your care
- Read your notes before and after the visit
Learn more about the benefits of sharing notes, and find out if your health system is sharing them!
“As the coronavirus pandemic drew closer in mid-March, my 17-year old granddaughter phoned, anxious about a sudden fever. As I responded to her questions, we discussed the situation for about 10 minutes. Given her story, I told her because of her age I doubted she had Covid-19…and that if she did, she’d do well anyway. She thanked me and told me the call was very helpful. But when my daughter asked her about it 15 minutes later, she confessed: ‘We had a good talk, but I can’t remember a word of it!’ Then she told her mother that if I had written down my thoughts for her to review after the call, she would probably feel a lot better!”
3. Stay safe during the pandemic.
Developed by healthcare professionals from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, this guide is free. It offers concrete, step-by-step recommendations and answers many common questions about how to stay safe. The Guide is available also in Spanish. Review it and share it with others. Join in “flattening the curve!”