Patients have unprecedented online access to their medical records. More than 6 million Americans can now read their doctors’ notes via patient portals, and continued rapid growth is likely. Sharing notes with patients may yield important health benefits, including increased patient empowerment and improved medication adherence. Seeing written information, including notes, helps patients remember the plan of care, reinforces patients’ positive behaviors, and strengthens the patient–doctor alliance.
Patient Portals that allow viewing of clinical notes and hospital discharge summaries: the University of Washington OpenNotes implementation experience
Many healthcare organizations are striving to improve patient engagement by facilitating patient access to clinical notes in the electronic health record (EHR) via patient portals. The University of Washington Health System (UW Medicine) in Seattle, WA, was an early participant in research on patient portals as one of the three OpenNotes study sites.
Background Patient advocates and safety experts encourage adoption of transparent health records, but sceptics worry that shared notes may offend patients, erode trust or promote defensive medicine. As electronic health records disseminate, such disparate views fuel policy debates about risks and benefits of sharing visit notes with patients through portals.
Methods Presurveys and postsurvey from 99 volunteer doctors at three US sites who participated in OpenNotes and postsurveys from 4592 patients who read at least one note and submitted a survey.
Results Patients read notes to be better informed and because they were curious; about a third read them to check accuracy. In total, 7% (321) of patients reported contacting their doctor’s office about their note. Of these, 29% perceived an error, and 85% were satisfied with its resolution.
OpenNotes is a growing national initiative inviting patients to read clinician progress notes (open notes) through a secure electronic portal. The goals of this study were to (1) identify resident and faculty preceptor attitudes about sharing notes with patients, and (2) assess specific educational needs, policy recommendations, and approaches to facilitate open notes implementation.
Objective To examine whether patients invited to review their clinicians’ notes continue to access them and to assess the impact of reminders on whether patients continued to view notes.
Materials and methods We followed OpenNotes trial participants for 2 years at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Geisinger Health System (GHS). Electronic invitations alerting patients to signed notes stopped at GHS after year 1, creating a natural experiment to assess the impact of reminders. We used generalized linear models to measure whether notes were viewed within 30 days of availability.
Background: As health care costs alarm the nation and the debate increases about the impact of health information technologies, patients are reviewing their medical records increasingly through secure Internet portals. Important questions remain about the impact of portal use on office visits.
Objective: To evaluate whether use of patient Internet portals to access records is associated with increased primary care utilization.
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.
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.
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%).