OpenNotes isn’t a software or app. We provide research and education about transparency in health care, especially about open notes. Health systems are now required to share your open notes with you! Reading your notes can help you manage your health care and feel more in control of your health.
Why should I read my open notes?
Whether you’re learning about open notes and how notes can help you, getting ready to start reading notes, or are an experienced user of notes, here are some answers to questions people often ask.
If Ellen Godfrey has questions about what she discussed with her primary care doctor, she looks first to her notes. She says OpenNotes has helped her better manage her high blood pressure, and that reading notes has also enhanced her relationship with her doctor.
Gain New Insight
Studies show that most patients remember less than half of what they discuss with their medical professionals. To make sure you don’t miss important information, open notes give you the opportunity to review the details of your visit at any time. Above all, open notes help you make sure that you and your health care team are always on the same page.
Share Information Confidentially, on Your Terms
The more connected you are to your health care team, the more actively you can manage your health. Reading your notes is a good way to get a better sense of what your doctor or nurse is thinking, so you can feel more confident, prepared and in control.
Take Control of Your Health Care
Information is power. Access to your medical information can help you ask better questions and make more confident decisions about your health. Whether you’re reviewing your treatment plan or thinking through different care options, the ability to read, review, and refer back to your notes makes it easier for you and care professionals to make informed, thoughtful decisions. Having access to what your doctor writes deepens the trust between you and your health care team. It’s a win-win.
In this video OpenNotes co-founders, Tom Delbanco, MD, and Jan Walker, RN, MBA, share the results of the initial OpenNotes study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2012. And patients and doctors who participated in the study discuss the benefits of note sharing.
Merelyn Hong believes that access to notes is important for all patients, no matter what language is spoken at home, because the information is there whenever it’s needed. She says the notes are an important tool that can be shared with family members or friends who can help navigate the English language and the health system.
Share Access with Care Partners
Are you caring for your parents, children or others? Do you rely on assistance for your own care? Either way, reading notes online or on paper, makes communication easier for people who depend on care partners. It’s also a handy resource for people who have trouble understanding their notes, aren’t fluent in English, or don’t have access to the Internet.
Make Your Care Safer
Open notes can make health care safer. By reviewing your notes, you can identify mistakes and make sure your record is accurate. After leaving your doctor’s office, open notes clarify what you’re supposed to do between visits and help you understand your medications. Your notes also remind you to make follow up appointments and schedule preventive tests, such as mammograms and colonoscopies.
Contribute to Your Notes
Looking ahead, we envision taking open notes even further. We expect you and your health professional can profit if you create notes together. We call this ‘OurNotes.’ We’re exploring how you can contribute important information to notes by writing in your own words how you’ve done between visits and expressing what you’d like to talk about at an upcoming appointment, and more. This way, your thoughts can become part of the notes themselves.
The Tools You Need
The Reading Your Notes toolkit gives you examples of notes, and helps you with questions to ask, including information to share with your care team if you’re not yet able to access your notes.