Most physicians who let patients read their notes over the course of a year as part of a study concluded that the practice was a good idea, and most patients in the study said the experience increased their medication adherence, according to a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded study included 105 doctors and more than 13,500 patients at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston; Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa.; and Harborview Medical Center, a Seattle safety-net hospital. Before the study began, a preliminary survey about doctor note-sharing was conducted. That survey found enthusiasm from patients for the practice but concern among physicians that letting patients see doctors' notes would lead to longer visits and more patient demands between visits. Some physicians also were concerned about expressing candid comments regarding patients' mental health, substance abuse, cancer and obesity. (Some 1,000 Harborview patients were excluded from the follow-up survey where mental illness or substance use was their main reason for receiving medical care.)
Participants were surveyed online last fall following 12 to 19 months of experience with open-note access. The study was led by Dr. Tom Delbanco and nurse Jan Walker from Beth Israel and Harvard Medical Center.