Patient access to medical progress notes improves self care: implications for mental health?

Patient access to medical progress notes improves self care: implications for mental health?

OpenNotes: Patient engagement with low physician hassle discusses evidence emerging that the OpenNotes pilot project, which enables patients to see their physicians progress notes in their medical record, is finding positive results. Physicians had been concerned that having progress notes available to patients would result in longer appointments, more documentation time and increased patient anxiety about what they read, but this is mostly not the case.

Only 3% of physicians report they believe that they spent more time responding to patient questions outside of visits. 11% report that they spent more time with documentation. On the other hand, a striking 77% of patients report that they felt that they have a better understanding of their medical condition and 70% report that they take better care of themselves because of having access to their progress notes. In addition, 85% of patients report that having access to their progress notes would affect their future choices of medical providers.

These findings raise some interesting implications for mental health providers. It will be interesting to find out if mental health patients find access to our progress notes to be as helpful as reported for medical patients. If so, we would probably need to plan for a “Behavioral OpenNotes” program.

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