It’s truth serum.
Using it can transform relationships forever.
These may sound like come-ons for the type of product typically hawked on late-night television. But in fact, they’re some of the things people are saying about OpenNotes.
OpenNotes isn’t a product, but an idea: That the notes doctors and other clinicians write about visits with patients should be available to the patients themselves. Although federal law gives patients that right, longstanding medical practice has been to reserve those visit notes for clinicians’ eyes only.
But Tom Delbanco and Jan Walker, a physician and nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, have long seen things differently.
Their personal experiences with patients, and inability to access care records for their own family members, persuaded them that the traditional practice of “closed” visit notes had to change. So, with primary support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, they launched what has now become a movement.
In 2010, Delbanco, Walker and colleagues led a study in which more than 100 primary care doctors from three health systems began sharing notes online with patients. Patients got secure messages prompting them that the notes were available, and reminders to read notes before their next appointments.