|Researchers Touting An Open Book Approach Between Doctor, Patient
Is physician note sharing with their patients a way to improve care or a surefire way to lead to misunderstanding?
A year-long, $1.4 million grant from the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation is aimed at helping researchers determine just that.
Researchers will assess the benefits of increased medical transparency
to determine if it would increase patient-physician trust and
communication and better engage patients in managing their own care.
Patients already have the legal right to see their records, including
doctors’ notes, but it’s a long, slow process.
Called the OpenNotes Project, approximately 100 primary
care doctors and 25,000 patients will evaluate the impact on patients
when physicians share their comments and observations after each
The participants are Boston’s Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center, as well as primary care physicians and
patients at Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa. and Harborview
Medical Center, Seattle.
Conceding that doctors have strong differences of
opinion about the idea, Stephen Downs, an assistant vice president at
RWJF, said this could lead to "a subtle change" in the doctor-patient
relationship and "could reposition notes to be for the patient instead
of about the patient, which … in the long run, lead to better
Reporting in the Journal of General Internal Medicine,
Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Tom Delbanco and Harvard Medical
School’s Jan Walker, RN, found that consumers want full access to
all of their medical records and are willing to make some privacy
concessions in the interest of making their medical records completely
Dr. Jonathan Darer, Geisinger’s lead investigator
on the project, said some doctors are "worried that the notes could be
misinterpreted and create more communication issues than they solve."
Still others believe that if patients were able to
access their notes it could serve as a reminder to follow their
doctors’ healthcare recommendations.
For more information on the OpenNotes Project, visit http://myopennotes.org.