Offering patients online access to medical records, including doctors’ visit notes, holds considerable potential to improve care. However, patients may worry about loss of privacy when accessing personal health information through Internet-based patient portals. The OpenNotes study provided patients at three US health care institutions with online access to their primary care doctors’ notes and then collected survey data about their experiences, including their concerns about privacy before and after participation in the intervention.
Electronic medical records and secure patient portals hold exciting potential for more active patient involvement in care and improved communication between patients and clinicians. These technologies facilitate a potentially disruptive innovation: Doctors can readily invite patients to read and share their visit notes and even contribute to the notes’ formulation. We conducted a quasi-experimental study, OpenNotes, in which more than 100 primary care physicians (PCPs) volunteered to invite more than 20 000 of their patients to review online the notes that the doctors wrote and signed after an office visit
Providers and policymakers are pursuing strategies to increase patient engagement in health care. Increasingly, online sections of medical records are viewable by patients though seldom are clinicians’ visit notes included. We designed a one-year multi-site trial of online patient accessible office visit notes, OpenNotes. We hypothesized that patients and primary care physicians (PCPs) would want it to continue and that OpenNotes would not lead to significant disruptions to doctors’ practices.
Little is known about what primary care physicians (PCPs) and patients would expect if patients were invited to read their doctors’ office notes.
To explore attitudes toward potential benefits or harms if PCPs offered patients ready access to visit notes.
The PCPs and patients completed surveys before joining a voluntary program that provided electronic links to doctors’ notes.