Sharing consultation notes may benefit patients


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Sharing office visit notes may provide considerable benefits for patients and in particular, underserved populations, according to a new research published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR). 

The study, led by Jan Walker, the co-founder of OpenNotes, assessed the experiences of patients with ongoing access to their clinicians' outpatient visit notes via OpenNotes. Researchers conducted a web-based survey of 22,947 patients who had at least one visit note available in a recent 12-month period and had read at least one note, and 763 non-readers. 

It found 72.62 per cent of those reading notes rated the practice as very important for helping them take care of their health and 65.82 per cent reported it helped them remember their plan of care. Around 3 per cent were very confused after reading notes, while almost 5 per cent were more worried and 11.5 per cent reported being concerned about privacy. 

Among the non-readers, the main reasons cited for not looking at notes included not knowing they had a right to look at notes and no need to read notes because they trusted their clinician. 

The authors said the results strongly suggest that transparency helps patients feel more engaged in their care.