Doctoring Knowledge

New post up at Trials and Fibrillations…Let’s give patients easy access to their charts

I’ve said it before here many times over.

In achieving quality of medical care, information and transparency are fundamental. Knowledge empowers patients to share in their medical decisions.

Doctors have always been teachers, but with the explosion of medical treatment options, this role has never been more important. Currently, in most of the real world, this teaching occurs in a brief and often rushed office encounter. The doctor uses the spoken word as the main means of education. Is is possible that the written word might help the important messages stick? Like homework or handouts at a lecture.

OpenNotes is an initiative to allow patients easy access to their chart. It’s a highly disruptive idea. Though it’s true that people have a legal right to see their chart, few patients look. And even if they did, the medical speak would be hard to understand.

A group of Harvard doctors think it’s time to change. They have published a study that confirms the idea that patients would be well-served by access to their medical record.

I spent a couple of days drafting an opinion on this matter. It wasn’t an easy topic. The end result of many drafts was that OpenNotes seems highly relevant to the world of electrophysiology–where we often use aggressive treatments to treat non-immediately-life-threatening rhythm disorders.

I posted my thoughts over at The link is highlighted: OpenNotes: Of course patients should have ready access to their medical record


2 replies on “New post up at Trials and Fibrillations…Let’s give patients easy access to their charts”

I believe it is a great idea. I’ve been to visit my mom on several occasions when she has been in the hospital and it does help to read the chart if it is available. She does not hear well so it makes a difference if I can have access to the chart instead of trying to reach the doctor via phone, etc. Knowledge is power and the power to help oneself is a wonderful thing.

As both an RN and a patient, I think OpenNotes is a fantastic idea. Medical professionals are human and sometimes make mistakes. These small mistakes can cause problems down the road such as denial of disability simply because something was charted wrong (i.e. left sided weakness confused with right sided weakness). This would allow for mistakes to be caught early. OpenNotes would also key patients in to what the doctor thought was the most important aspect of the visit (which might not necessarily be what the patient was taking out of the office visit). I can see OpenNotes as a means of enhancing communication.

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