For many of us, hospitals evoke a persistent buzz of low-key anxiety. The long hallways often smell faintly of antiseptic and worry. Is there a role that doctors could play to help patients and their families better understand their care and perhaps alleviate some of that worry? An interdisciplinary study by the University of Minnesota Medical Center (UMMC) with faculty and students from the College of Liberal Arts’ Department of Writing Studies discovered that doctors sharing their progress notes with patients and families helps a lot.
Doctors opening their clinical notes to their patients is not a brand-new idea. But, physicians sharing their daily notes with hospitalizedpatients and their families is a new idea pioneered at UMMC, according to Dr. Craig Weinert, UMMC executive medical director.
Could OpenNotes Help Improve a Hospital Stay?
OpenNotes is an initiative that encourages partnerships among everyone on a medical team—including the patient—by providing everyone access to the same information, the daily notes written by doctors, nurses, and clinicians. UMMC has long used patient surveys to glean feedback from patients on their experience. However Weinert, who ran across the OpenNotes project in medical journals in 2012, thought this initiative might be key to improving doctor-patient communications and, by extension, the patients’ entire experience.
Read Niki Mitchell full article here!