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Would you want to read your doctor's notes? According to a yearlong, multi-location study by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), most patients say yes, feeling more in control of their care after viewing doctors' notes. BIDMC's study analyzes the use of OpenNotes, where patients can view their doctors' and nurses' notes on a secure website whenever they want to. The BIDMC study reflects the views of 105 primary care physicians and 13,564 of their patients who had at least one doctor's note available during the program. Patients with access to notes reported better understanding of their medical issues and were more likely to take their medications as prescribed.
Doctors participating in the OpenNotes trial at BIDMC, Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa., and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle reported that most of their fears about offending patients did not materialize, and that trust and communication with patients improved. "Patients are enthusiastic about open access to their primary care doctors' notes. More than 85% read them, and 99% of those completing surveys recommended that this transparency continue," said BIDMC physician and Harvard Medical School professor Tom Delbanco, a co-author of the study.