OpenNotes faculty and scholars conduct research and collaborate with investigators around the world to understand the effects of fully transparent medical care on communication, engagement, safety, costs, and the overall quality of care. Below you can review work conducted by OpenNotes faculty and scholars, often joined by colleagues from a wide variety of settings in the US and beyond.
Want to join OpenNotes research efforts?
Send us a message.
Evidence suggests that the practice of sharing clinicians’ notes with patients via online patient portals may increase patient engagement and improve patient–clinician relationships while requiring little change in providers’ workflow. Authors examined clinical social workers’ experiences and attitudes related to open psychotherapy notes using focus groups and telephone interviews.
In this web-based survey study of 1628 clinicians, most viewed note sharing positively (74% agreed that it is a good idea and 74% viewed shared notes as useful for engaging patients in their care), and 37% of physicians surveyed reported spending more time in documentation. Physicians with more years in practice and fewer hours spent in patient care had more positive opinions overall.
Patients who read their clinical notes via online patient portals (‘open notes’) report that doing so engages them actively in their care, improves their sense of control over their health and enhances safety. In several surveys, patients who are older, less educated, non-white or whose first language is not English report even greater benefits than do their counterparts. However, for many reasons, persons from these demographic groups are less likely to use health portals than other patient populations.
Dermatopathologists’ Experience With and Perceptions of Patient Online Access to Pathologic Test Result Reports
In this survey study of 160 dermatopathologists, 57% reported that they have been contacted by patients about their pathologic test result reports.
In the past decade, health institutions in over ten countries—including Australia, Canada, Sweden, and the USA—have begun to provide patients with access to their clinical records via secure online portals. So far, however, few health organisations have chosen to share clinical notes written by mental health professionals. Clinicians, especially those working in psychiatric settings, remain concerned that patients could become anxious, confused, or offended by what they read, and that sharing notes will create an extra work burden for mental health professionals.
Embracing the new age of transparency: mental health patients reading their psychotherapy notes online
Our pilot findings indicate that most patients who read open therapy notes find them valuable for understanding and engaging in their mental health care, with minimal adverse effects.
The international movement pushing to increase transparency by giving patients easy access to their health information parallels a broader shift in healthcare towards increased patient empowerment and participation.
A patient and family reporting system for perceived ambulatory note mistakes: experience at 3 U.S. healthcare centers
Partnering with patients and families to obtain reports on inaccuracies in visit notes may contribute to safer care. Mechanisms to encourage greater use of patient and family reporting systems are needed.
A new study from the OpenNotes project (1) suggests that giving patients access to their physicians’ visit notes may improve their understanding of and comfort with their medications, as well as adherence to medication regimens.
We examined patients’ perceptions of how note reading affects factors related to medication adherence. In addition, we sought to understand their engagement with online medication lists and their willingness to participate in keeping those lists correct and up to date.