BIDMC launches pilot, advocates for openness Writing for “A Piece of My Mind,” appearing April 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), lead author and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center psychiatrist, Michael Kahn, MD, urges mental health clinicians to begin sharing the visit notes they write with their patients. “Nationally, the momentum…
Should we health professionals encourage patients with mental illness to read their medical record notes? As electronic medical records and secure online portals proliferate, patients are gaining ready access not only to laboratory findings but also to clinicians’ notes. Primary care patients report that reading their doctors’ notes brings many benefits including greater control over their health care, and their doctors experience surprisingly few changes in workflow. While patients worry about electronic records and potential loss of privacy, they vote resoundingly for making their records more available to them and often to their families.
At long last public and private initiatives are on the verge of giving consumers more information and more fair opportunities when it comes to obtaining health insurance and health care, reducing the uneven care and dysfunctional financing that have long plagued the health care system in the United States.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is recasting the marketplace for health insurance, allowing consumers who shop on their own to make more informed choices among a better selection of health plans. Health insurers must now play by a different set of rules. Consumers with preexisting conditions are no longer denied insurance. The products for sale are more standardized, and important loopholes such as misleading out-of-pocket maximums have been closed. Private plans can be compared on an apples-to-apples basis using a new Summary of Benefits and Coverage form that standardizes the way coverage is described no matter which company or organization is offering it.
In 2001, the Institute of Medicine recommended improving patient engagement by providing continuous care, allowing patients to be the source of control and fostering transparency with patients and families. Electronic health records (EHRs) facilitate these objectives via the use of patient portals. Giving outpatients direct access to their health information helps clinicians find errors and improves patient satisfaction, although the implications of this type of access have not been well studied in the inpatient setting. This hospital-based study evaluates the experiences of patients, clinicians (including physicians and advanced practice providers), and nurses with immediate (real-time) release of test results and other EHR information through a patient portal.