Ten Things You Can Do Right Now
1. Feel Confident That the Notes Are For You: You are at the center of your health care, and reading your notes can help you feel more in control of your health and have a stronger and more trusting relationship with your provider. The notes are about you, and you have the right to receive and review them.
2. See Who’s Already Sharing: Take a look here to see which health systems are already sharing notes, but know that every day we’re talking with institutions and clinicians working toward sharing notes online. If you don’t find your institution, or if you find your institution, but your doctor is not yet sharing notes, it’s still okay to ask for them. It lets your medical team know you’re interested in partnering with them in your own care.
3. Register for the Patient Portal: If your health care provider uses an electronic health record and has a patient web portal, we recommend that you register for it. It’s an easy and secure way to engage with your health information. (Clinicians and institutions can help too. Engaged patients get better health care. Help patients register for portals and invite them to read their notes.)
4. Ask for Your Notes: Don’t be shy or embarrassed. Let your provider know – in person or by email – that you’re interested in accessing your notes. The notes can be printed out or made available online.
5. Use Your Notes: Refer back to your notes any time you want to help remember what you discussed with your doctor and to remind yourself of things like follow up appointments and medication changes. You can also read your notes before an upcoming appointment to help plan for the visit. And, you can choose to share your notes with family members or any other person who partners in your care.
6. Help Others Navigate the Health System: Some of us may receive help or we may help a loved one understand more about their condition, their medications, or help with things like scheduling appointments. Sharing notes can help care partners manage the health and illnesses of the patients they support.
7. Ensure that Your Health Information is Accurate: By reviewing your note, you can play an important role in the safety of your care by making sure that the information in your medical record is current and accurate. If there’s something you don’t understand, it’s okay to ask your care team for help. If you find something you think is a mistake, let your health care provider know.
Launched in 2002, the Joint Commission’s Speak Up patient safety program is now being used in more than 40 countries. The program encourages patients to:
Speak up if you have questions or concerns.
Pay attention to the care you get.
Educate yourself about your illness.
Ask a trusted family member or friend to be your advocate.
Know what medicines you take and why you take them.
Use a health care organization that has been carefully checked out.
Participate in all decisions about your treatment.
9. Share Your Story: We’d love to hear from you about ways you’re engaging with your health information – successes, obstacles, worries – we’d like to hear it all. Send messages to firstname.lastname@example.org.