Blease C, Delbanco T, Torous J, et al. Sharing clinical notes, and placebo and nocebo effects: Can documentation affect patient health?, Journal of Health Psychology. August 10, 2020.
This paper connects findings from the field of placebo studies with research into patients’ interactions with their clinician’s visit notes, housed in their electronic health records. We propose specific hypotheses about how features of clinicians’ written notes might trigger mechanisms of placebo and nocebo effects to elicit positive or adverse health effects among patients. Bridging placebo studies with (a) survey data assaying patient and clinician experiences with portals and (b) randomized controlled trials provides preliminary support for our hypotheses. We conclude with actionable proposals for testing our understanding of the health effects of access to visit notes.
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