Study: Open Notes Have Substantial Impact on Patient Engagement

March 6, 2015 | Physician Practice News

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Most patients participating in a study about open access healthcare records said that having access to the physician's clinical notes online had a significant impact on their understanding of their health conditions and that they were more motivated and prepared to care for themselves, according to study results published February 10, 2015, in BMJ. Researchers conducted a 12-month study that included 105 primary care physicians and more than 19,000 patients at three medical centers. More than 80% of patients opened at least one note, and more than two-thirds reported that they were more motivated and capable of caring for themselves, had an easier time adhering to medication instructions, and felt more in control of their care. Roughly 20% of patients shared notes with family members or others. Few patients (about 1% to 8%) reported confusion, concern, or taking offense at something they read, while some patients said that seeing words like "obese" in their notes motivated them to improve their health. The vast majority of patients (more than 85%) said that access to open notes would affect their choice of providers in the future. At the end of the study, 99% of patients wanted to continue accessing notes online and no physicians reported wanting to stop sharing notes.

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