Patients who read clinician notes report positive medication use, study finds

Patients who read their clinicians' notes feel more in control of their medications and are more likely to take medications as prescribed, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

A team of researchers analyzed responses from an online survey sent to an estimated 20,000 adult patients at Boston-based Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, University of Washington Medicine in Seattle and Geisinger in Danville, Pa. The survey was conducted between June and October 2017, and participants were ages 18 and older with the following requirements: had logged into the patient portal at least once in the past year, had at least one ambulatory visit note available and had been prescribed or were taking a medications in the previous year.

When asked what benefits they had gained from reading their clinicians' notes, study participants said the following:

· Had an increased understanding of why medication was prescribed: 64 percent.
· Felt more in control of their medications: 62 percent.
· Felt more comfortable with medications: 61 percent.
· Found answers to questions about medications: 57 percent.

Additionally, survey results showed that 14 percent of patients at BIDMC and Geisinger said they were more likely to take their medications as prescribed after reading their clinical notes, while 33 percent of University of Washington patients said notes are "very important," in helping them with their medications.

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