Noted: Experimenting With Open Access Notes In Medicine

Vanitha Virudachalam | Chicago Policy Review | October 22, 2012

As health information technology continues to evolve, new and creative uses for electronic health records (EHRs) are beginning to develop. One such “potentially disruptive innovation” is the use of EHRs and patient portals to give patients access to the notes doctors prepare on patients after an office visit. Previously, limited information existed on the effects of giving patients access to visit notes; a team of researchers, led by Tom Delbanco and Jan Walker, set out to remedy this.

The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, followed 105 primary care physicians (PCPs) from three different practices and 13,564 of their patients who had access to at least one completed note during the approximately year long intervention. Researchers hypothesized most patients would read the notes and report greater engagement in care and improved management of health, impact on doctors’ work lives would be minimal, and a large percentage of doctors and patients would opt to continue with the intervention, called OpenNotes, after the study ended – these hypotheses were largely shown to be true...