Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Patients feel more control of their health when doctors share notes

Date:
October 1, 2012
Source:
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Summary:
Patients with access to notes written by their doctors feel more in control of their care and report a better understanding of their medical issues, improved recall of their care plan and being more likely to take their medications as prescribed, a new study has found.

Patients with access to notes written by their doctors feel more in control of their care and report a better understanding of their medical issues, improved recall of their care plan and being more likely to take their medications as prescribed, a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center-led study has found.

Related Articles


Doctors participating in the OpenNotes trial at BIDMC, Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle reported that most of their fears about an additional time burden and offending or worrying patients did not materialize, and many reported enhanced trust, transparency, and communication with their patients. The findings were published in the Oct. 2 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Patients are enthusiastic about open access to their primary care doctors' notes. More than 85 percent read them, and 99 percent of those completing surveys recommended that this transparency continue," says Tom Delbanco, MD, co-first author, a primary care doctor at BIDMC and the Koplow-Tullis Professor of General Medicine and Primary Care at Harvard Medical School. "Open notes may both engage patients far more actively in their care and enhance safety when the patient reviews their records with a second set of eyes."

"Perhaps most important clinically, a remarkable number of patients reported becoming more likely to take medications as prescribed," adds Jan Walker, RN, MBA, co-first author and a Principal Associate in Medicine in the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care at BIDMC and Harvard Medical School. "And in contrast to the fears of many doctors, few patients reported being confused, worried or offended by what they read." The findings reflect the views of 105 primary care physicians and 13,564 of their patients who had at least one note available during a year-long voluntary program that provided patients at an urban academic medical center, a predominantly rural network of physicians, and an urban safety net hospital with electronic links to their doctors' notes.

Of 5,391 patients who opened at least one note and returned surveys, between 77 and 87 percent reported open notes made them feel more in control of their care, with 60 to 78 percent reporting increased adherence to medications. Only 1 to 8 percent of patients reported worry, confusion or offense, three out of five felt they should be able to add comments to their doctors' notes, and 86 percent agreed that availability of notes would influence their choice of providers in the future.

Among doctors, a maximum of 5 percent reported longer visits, and no more than 8 percent said they spent extra time addressing patients' questions outside of visits. A maximum of 21 percent reported taking more time to write notes, while between 3 and 36 percent reported changing documentation content.

No doctor elected to stop providing access to notes after the experimental period ended. "The benefits were achieved with far less impact on the work life of doctors and their staffs than anticipated," says Delbanco. "While a sizeable minority reported changing the way their notes addressed substance abuse, mental health issues, malignancies and obesity, a smaller minority spent more time preparing their notes, and some commented that they were improved."

"As one doctor noted: 'My fears? Longer notes, more questions and messages from patients … In reality, it was not a big deal.'"

Walker suggests that so few patients were worried, confused or offended by the note because "fear or uncertainty of what's in a doctor's 'black box' may engender far more anxiety than what is actually written, and patients who are especially likely to react negatively to notes may self-select to not read them."

"We anticipate that some patients may be disturbed in the short term by reading their notes and doctors will need to work with patients to prevent such harms, ideally by talking frankly with them or agreeing proactively that some things are at times best left unread."

"When this study began, it was a fascinating idea in theory," says Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the primary funder of the study. "Now it's tested and proven. The evidence is in: Patients support, use, and benefit from open medical notes. These results are exciting -- and hold tremendous promise for transforming patient care."

In addition to Delbanco and Walker, co-authors include: Sigall K. Bell, MD, Henry J. Feldman, MD, Nadine Farag, MS, Roanne Mejilla, MPH, Long Ngo, PhD and Neha Trivedi, BIDMC; Suzanne G. Leveille, PhD, RN, University of Massachusetts-Boston; Jonathan D. Darer, MD, MPH, Geisinger Health System; Joann G. Elmore, MD, MPH, University of Washington Medical School and Harborview Medical Center; James D. Ralston MD, MPH, Group Health Cooperative, Seattle; Elisabeth Vodicka, BA, Harborview Medical Center and Stephen E. Ross, MD, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

The study is funded primarily by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, with additional support from the Drane Family Fund, the Richard and Florence Koplow Charitable Foundation and the National Cancer Institute. No conflicts were reported.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tom Delbanco, Jan Walker, Sigall K. Bell, Jonathan D. Darer, Joann G. Elmore, Nadine Farag, Henry J. Feldman, Roanne Mejilla, Long Ngo, James D. Ralston, Stephen E. Ross, Neha Trivedi, Elisabeth Vodicka, Suzanne G. Leveille. Inviting Patients to Read Their Doctors' Notes: A Quasi-experimental Study and a Look Ahead. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2012; 157 (7): 461-470 [link]

Cite This Page:

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "Patients feel more control of their health when doctors share notes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121001171109.htm>.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (2012, October 1). Patients feel more control of their health when doctors share notes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121001171109.htm
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. "Patients feel more control of their health when doctors share notes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121001171109.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins