Patients have the right under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) to access their entire medical chart, including clinicians’ progress notes. But most hospitals and practices view that requirement as a burden and have set up time, cost and logistical barriers to prevent patients from seeing and obtaining copies of their own records.
The idea of open notes is to make this a much easier process. Health systems put patient records online through a secure Web portal as soon as notes are signed and posted to an EHR. Systems have generally started in the ambulatory setting. The next step—expanding access to the inpatient setting—is turning out to be neither inevitable nor seamless.
“The speed and dynamics of inpatient care—where providers and consultants can change daily—raise a number of new concerns,” says Jonathan Darer, MD, an internist and chief innovation officer at Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Health System, which participated in the OpenNotes trial.
Read Deborah Gesensway’s complete article on the Today’s Hospitalist website.