(Reuters Health) – Letting patients see their medical records while they’re in the hospital might ease worry and confusion without extra work for doctors and nurses, a small study suggests.
“The hope is that increased transparency achieved by sharing electronic medical records with patients while they’re in the hospital would make them more engaged in their care, more satisfied, and more likely to ask questions and catch errors,” said lead study author Dr. Jonathan Pell, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado in Denver.
Patients didn’t think they could catch medical errors, “so that piece didn’t come out the way we had hoped it would,” Pell said. “But we were also pleasantly surprised that many of the doctors and nurses didn’t see their work load increased by patients having access to their records.”
These days patients more often have access to electronic medical records from checkups and outpatient treatments, but typically only after care is completed – and not for procedures while they’re in the hospital.
To see what patients might learn from reviewing their medical records during their hospital stay, Pell and colleagues gave tablet computers to 50 people – all selected because they knew how to use the Internet. Most had a computer at home, and more than half had a laptop or smartphone with them in the hospital.
Read Lisa Rapaport’s full article here.