Doctor Visit Notes: Will Patients Benefit From Access?

Medical doctors have the technology in place (in most cases) to easily share medical records with their patients, which would include their notes made while examining patients.  However, because of the confusion patients have with reading the notes and understanding medical terminology, most doctors prefer to not share this information.  One doctor told me that they just tell patients they are unable to email the records, even though they could easily do this, because patients can become alarmed at the wording they might use. 
Seniors especially, often need to make sure that all of their different doctors are aware of the medications they have been prescribed and the suggested diet and exercises.  Sharing of the medical notes with the patient could be beneficial.
The Annals of Medicine published the results of a poll taken by OpenNotes, a yearlong study which researched the benefits and problems when doctors let patients read their notes.  While patients thought that open visit notes were a great idea in this study, many doctors felt that the note sharing caused more problems than it solved.
More than 37,000 patients participated in OpenNotes and nearly 97% endorsed access.  About one-third of the doctors polled chose not to participate in the OpenNotes project. 
As technology advances, it will follow that there will be more ways to share information securely.  Seniors can now review nursing home ratings and costs and quality standards for senior home care and sharing more medical information will be on the horizon.


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