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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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.
Sharing Physician Notes Through an Electronic Portal is Associated With Improved Medication Adherence: Quasi-Experimental Study
Background: In surveys, interviews, and focus groups, patients taking medications and offered Web portal access to their primary care physicians’ (PCPs) notes report improved adherence to their regimens. However, objective confirmation has yet to be reported.
Objective: To evaluate the association between patient Internet portal access to primary care physician visit notes and medication adherence.
Connecting Patients and Clinicians: The Anticipated Effects of Open Notes on Patient Safety and Quality of Care
In preparation for the safety initiative, we drew on the safety themes that emerged from the original OpenNotes study and further explored patient safety topics in focus groups conducted in April and May 2013. Drawing on surveys, focus groups, and our experience during the last five years, in this article we reflect on theoretical risks and benefits to safety and quality through three emergent overarching questions, as follows:
How do patients and providers view the potential effects of open notes on patient safety and quality of care?
How do physicians anticipate reacting to mistakes that patients find in the notes?
What are the potential implications of shared visit notes for institutional disclosure, education, and patient engagement programs?
Patients living with HIV/AIDS face large societal and medical challenges. Inviting patients to read their doctors’ visit notes via secure electronic portals may empower patients and improve health. We investigated whether utilization and perceptions about access to doctors’ notes differed among doctors and patients in an HIV/AIDS clinic versus primary care setting. We analyzed pre- and 1-year postintervention data from 99 doctors and 3819 patients. HIV clinic patients did not report differences in perceived risks and benefits compared to primary care clinic patients, however, they were more likely to share notes with friends (33% versus 9%, P = .002), other health professionals (24% versus 8%, P = .03), or another doctor (38% versus 9%, P < .0001). HIV clinic doctors were less likely than primary care doctors to change the level of candor in visit notes (P < .04). Our findings suggest that HIV clinic patients and doctors are ready to share visit notes online.
We congratulate Martin1 on his thoughtful description of how he has opened clinical notes to his patients. We write in response from two perspectives. One of us (D.deB.) is a patient who has become active in the world of patient engagement,2 a switch in careers triggered by widely metastatic renal carcinoma, now in remission for several years thanks to superb care by physicians and nurses in primary care and oncology. The second author (J.W.) is one of the leaders of the OpenNotes initiative3 and a health services researcher, with a background in nursing. We touch first on several points that draw on a growing national experience with fully transparent medical records and then offer the perspective of a patient and consumer advocate.
More than 4 decades have passed since the call for “giving patients their medical records” was first proposed to increase patient engagement in health care delivery.1 Today, this vision—once considered radical—is quickly becoming reality, with millions of Americans routinely accessing their medical records through web-based patient portals.1
The electronic health record content that patients can access online is expanding to include physicians’ documentation of patient visits. Recent studies evaluating OpenNotes, a patient-centered initiative enabling online access to providers’ clinical notes, have demonstrated high levels of patient utilization and improved self-reported understanding of care planning and medication adherence, resulting in patients “feeling more in control of their health care.”1
Objective To explore the experience of early patient adopters who accessed their clinical notes online using the Blue Button feature of the My HealtheVet portal.
Methods A web-based survey of VA patient portal users from June 22 to September 15, 2013.
Results 33.5% of respondents knew that clinical notes could be viewed, and nearly one in four (23.5%) said that they had viewed their notes at least once. The majority of VA Notes users agreed that accessing their notes will help them to do a better job of taking medications as prescribed (80.1%) and be better prepared for clinic visits (88.6%).
The move to offer patients online access to their clinicians’ notes is accelerating and holds promise of supporting more truly collaborative relationships between patients and clinicians, say Jan Walker, Michael Meltsner, and Tom Delbanco
For decades clinicians have experimented with making medical records available to patients.1 2 3 4 5 6 Now electronic medical records and associated secure internet portals provide patients the opportunity to view test results, medications, and other selected parts of the medical record on line.7 But few patients are offered full access to their records; clinicians’ notes are rarely visible. After a demonstration project showed the acceptability of OpenNotes (www.myopennotes.org) in the US,8 several prominent healthcare providers decided to make clinicians’ notes available to patients online before further formal evaluation. We describe the OpenNotes movement in the US and how sharing notes with patients is spreading. We also underline the case for research to assess the long term effect of sharing notes and the potential to foster improved and truly collaborative care.
Background: Inviting patients to read their primary care visit notes may improve communication and help them engage more actively in their health care. Little is known about how patients will use the opportunity to share their visit notes with family members or caregivers, or what the benefits might be.
Objective: Our goal was to evaluate the characteristics of patients who reported sharing their visit notes during the course of the study, including their views on associated benefits and risks.
Methods: The OpenNotes study invited patients to access their primary care providers’ visit notes in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Pre- and post-intervention surveys assessed patient demographics, standardized measures of patient-doctor communication, sharing of visit notes with others during the study, and specific health behaviors reflecting the potential benefits and risks of offering patients easy access to their visit notes.
Historically, radiologists’ official written reports have functionally been proprietary communications between radiologists and referring providers. Although never secret, these reports have traditionally been archived in the medical record, with tightly controlled access. Patients rarely viewed reports directly. As patient-centered care, transparent communication, and electronic archiving have converged, however, radiologists’ reports, like many other medical record components, are increasingly accessible to patients via web-based “portals.” Many radiologists harbor justified anxiety about whether and how radiology reports should change in response to these portals.