James A. Guest and Lynn Quincy from Consumer Reports discuss public and private health initiatives that are giving consumers more information and more fair opportunities when it comes to obtaining health insurance and health care:
“This year has also seen a leap forward in concepts like OpenNotes, a transparency movement that invites and enables patients to review not just their laboratory results and medication lists online, but their clinicians’ notes as well. Projects in Boston, Seattle, and rural Pennsylvania are generating impressive data of consumer benefit: patients report taking better care of themselves and feeling more in control of their care due to access to all their clinicians’ notes; they tell stories suggesting that reading notes could improve safety, costs, and satisfaction; and 99% of participating patients wanted to continue after a year of access to their clinician’s notes. Not one of the more than 100 primary care physicians who volunteered to participate in the initial research and evaluation phase chose to stop at the end of the trial.
In light of these results, why not make this the standard of care? Such practice does not depend on technology, and for those who have electronic records, any challenges posed by technology can be readily overcome if the will is there. There will be unexpected consequences. Transparency of full and complete medical records will undoubtedly bring unexpected effects. But it is here to stay, and the benefits will outweigh any downsides.”
Read the full article on JAMA’s website.