Access to Physician Notes Can Boost Patient Engagement, Adherence to Care Plans

Patient access to physician notes can boost patient engagement, understanding and adherence to their care plans, according to a study published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

For the study, researchers surveyed 105 primary care physicians and 13,564 patients who had access to their physicians' notes via an electronic portal over a one-year period. Of the 5,391 patients who reviewed at least one note and completed the survey, up to 87 percent reported that the open notes program made them feel more in control of their care, and up to 78 percent reported increased adherence to medications. Nearly all (99 percent) of the patients who responded felt that the program should continue, but approximately one-third expressed concerns about privacy.

Physicians initially voiced concerns that open notes would increase their work load or worry and/or offend patients; however, those concerns never materialized. When asked to describe the most difficult aspect of the open notes program, 74 percent of the 104 physicians who responded said that nothing was difficult and that they experienced no changes in their practice.

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