In a classic “Seinfeld” episode, Elaine Benes learns that her medical chart says she is “difficult” because she refused to wear a paper exam gown. Her efforts to resolve the situation aggravate doctors, leaving her with an untreated rash.
In the real world, where medical charts are increasingly electronic, some providers have started sharing doctor notes with patients. The practice rarely offends patients or burdens doctors, according to researchers with OpenNotes, a national initiative supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
In fact, it improves care, the researchers say.
Madison health systems let patients see visit summaries, lab results and other information through the online portal MyChart. But they don’t share doctor notes as do organizations such as Milwaukee-based Columbia St. Mary’s and Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic.
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