Study: Open Access to Their Clinical Notes Gives Patients a Leg Up

A new study in the journal BMJ Open indicates that giving patients real-time, unfettered access to their medical record can build trust in the care plan and improve patients’ ability to take care of themselves.

Through a review of patient survey data and interviews with pilot program participants, a research team led by former Commonwealth Fund Harkness Fellow Tobias Esch, M.D., sought to gauge the impact of the OpenNotes movement five years after its promising launch. Among the team’s other findings is that in reading their clinical notes, most patients discovered something about their therapeutic regimen that needed to be corrected or clarified, typically medication dosage or timing.

According to the authors, the OpenNotes movement is now spreading beyond primary care to medical and surgical specialists, mental health providers, and physical therapists.

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