Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) are homing in on the potential benefits of allowing patients access to the notes their clinicians write after a visit. An article published in the August edition of The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety suggests that this kind of patient engagement has the power to improve safety and quality of care.
The practice of sharing visit notes more readily began with the OpenNotes study in 2010. More than 100 primary care doctors at three hospitals invited 20,000 of their patients to read their visit notes through a secure, patient website. Patients reported feeling more in control of their health, being better prepared for their visits and several other benefits. Doctors saw little or no impact on their work flow. In the five years since the launch of the study, the number of patients who are able to read their visit notes has grown to more than five million nationwide.
The researchers drew from five years of experience with OpenNotes, new survey data and focus groups to examine key areas of patient safety and quality of care that might be impacted by more open communication between doctors and patients.
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