As the OpenNotes movement spreads, it offers important opportunities to learn from many health care professionals and health systems, as well as millions of patients. We’re collaborating closely with researchers across the country and around the world to understand the effects of fully transparent medical care on communication, engagement, safety, costs, and the overall quality of care.
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Patient and family engagement is gaining attention as a priority in patient care1 and medical education.2 OpenNotes, an innovation that invites patients to read their visit notes through a secure online portal, has demonstrated several health benefits.3 Over five million U.S. patients have online access to their notes today; shared visit notes may not only engage patients in care but also open the door to new educational innovations.
Intrigued by the idea of patient/family feedback on visit notes, our research team asked residents and their supervisors whether such feedback would be helpful.4 In surveys and focus groups, many agreed it would be.
As soon as the elevator door closed, the tears gave way, and I walked home with my head down … thoughts of my mistakes running rampant.
So began the reflection of a third-year medical student, who described falling short of his residents’ expectations on a history and physical examination. The crucial flaw? He had taken too long. His reflection continued:
[The next day], an elderly patient, traction stockings covering her small, dark brown legs, shuffled toward me. She stopped directly in front of me, her delicate, slightly stooped frame supported by her thin hand, grasping the IV pole. “Young man,” she said, “I heard you speaking to the patient in the bed next to me [last night]. And I just wanted you to know that I’m just so proud of you.… How you spoke to that patient with such care and intelligence. I’m just so proud.”
Patients, Care Partners, and Shared Access to the Patient Portal: Online Practices at an Integrated Health System
Objective To describe the characteristics and online practices of patients and “care partners” who share explicit access to a patient portal account at a large integrated health system that implemented shared access functionality in 2003.
Materials and Methods Survey of 323 patients and 389 care partners at Geisinger Health System with linked information regarding access and use of patient portal functionality.
Results Few (0.4%) registered adult patient portal users shared access to their account. Patients varied in age (range: 18–102); more than half had a high school education or less (53.6%). Patient motivations for sharing access included: to help manage care (41.9%), for emergency reasons (29.7%), lack of technology experience (18.4%), or care partner request (10.0%).
Opening Residents’ Notes to Patients: A Qualitative Study of Resident and Faculty Physician Attitudes on Open Notes Implementation in Graduate Medical Education.
OpenNotes is a growing national initiative inviting patients to read clinician progress notes (open notes) through a secure electronic portal. The goals of this study were to (1) identify resident and faculty preceptor attitudes about sharing notes with patients, and (2) assess specific educational needs, policy recommendations, and approaches to facilitate open notes implementation.
In its landmark report Crossing the Quality Chasm, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) identified six aims for shaping the future of health care.1 The report argued that care should be safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable. Some of these aims necessitate trade-offs with each other. For example, prioritizing effectiveness may constrain efficiency, or efficiency may compromise timeliness. Although there is no inherent conflict between effective care and patient-centered care, clinical practice guidelines and quality metrics often emphasize effectiveness over patient-centered care. In this article, in lieu of “patient-centered care,” which the IOM defined as “providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions,”1(p. 6) we use the term personalized care.
Objective To examine whether patients invited to review their clinicians’ notes continue to access them and to assess the impact of reminders on whether patients continued to view notes.
Materials and methods We followed OpenNotes trial participants for 2 years at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Geisinger Health System (GHS). Electronic invitations alerting patients to signed notes stopped at GHS after year 1, creating a natural experiment to assess the impact of reminders. We used generalized linear models to measure whether notes were viewed within 30 days of availability.
Health information technology has been embraced as a strategy to facilitate patients’ access to their health information and engagement in care. However, not all patients are able to access, or are capable of using, a computer or mobile device. Although family caregivers assist individuals with some of the most challenging and costly health needs, their role in health information technology is largely undefined and poorly understood. This perspective discusses challenges and opportunities of engaging family caregivers through the use of consumer-oriented health information technology.
Objectives (A) To gain insights into the experiences of patients invited to view their doctors’ visit notes, with a focus on those who review multiple notes; (B) to examine the relationships among fully transparent electronic medical records and quality of care, the patient-doctor relationship, patient engagement, self-care, self-management skills and clinical outcomes.
Design Mixed methods qualitative study: analyses of survey data, including content analysis of free-text answers, and quantitative-descriptive measures combined with semistructured individual interviews, patient activation measures, and member checks.
Do Patients Who Access Clinical Information on Patient Internet Portals Have More Primary Care Visits?
Background: As health care costs alarm the nation and the debate increases about the impact of health information technologies, patients are reviewing their medical records increasingly through secure Internet portals. Important questions remain about the impact of portal use on office visits.
Objective: To evaluate whether use of patient Internet portals to access records is associated with increased primary care utilization.
Characteristics of Patients Who Report Confusion After Reading Their Primary Care Clinic Notes Online
Patient access to online electronic medical records (EMRs) is increasing and may offer benefits to patients. However, the inherent complexity of medicine may cause confusion. We elucidate characteristics and health behaviors of patients who report confusion after reading their doctors’ notes online. We analyzed data from 4,528 patients in Boston, MA, central Pennsylvania, and Seattle, WA, who were granted online access to their primary care doctors’ clinic notes and who viewed at least one note during the 1-year intervention. Three percent of patients reported confusion after reading their visit notes.