open notes


Patients Want To See Their Medical Notes, But Doctors Remain Worried

By Martha Bebinger

At the end of most doctors appointments, I sit on the exam table still wearing that awful johnny, and watch my doc scribble something on a page or type something into a computer. I’d like to know what they write, and it turns out I’m not alone.

A study in today’s issue of Annals of Internal Medicine gauges interest among patients and doctors in sharing the notes doctors take after seeing patients. Most doctors worried “the content would upset or confuse patients,” says Jan Walker, a nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the study’s lead author.

Patients, in contrast, “imagined a lot of benefits from viewing their notes. They thought they would understand their care better and would take their medications more reliably,” Walker says. A very small percentage thought they would be confused or troubled by seeing the physicians notes.

Walker and her co-author, Dr. Tom Delbanco are now analyzing the effects of their one year experiment known as “Open Notes.” Continue reading