Open Notes Become Law: A Challenge for Mental Health Practice
O’Neill S, Blease C, Delbanco T. Open Notes Become Law: A Challenge for Mental Health Practice. Psychiatric Services, 11 May 2021. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.202000782
Although benefits to patients’ having access to psychiatric notes have been documented, early studies involved patients’ access to hard copies they often reviewed in the presence of mental health professionals. … Clinicians worry about possible harms, and in surveys, many psychiatrists anticipate that patients will become confused, get angry, or decompensate when reading their notes. However, experience challenges the assumption that mental health notes should remain segregated because these patients “cannot handle it.” … Both anecdotally and in surveys, fears among clinicians have largely been unrealized, and we are not aware of any reports of harm to or legal action from patients accessing their mental health notes.