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Should Patients Have Access to Doctor's Notes?

Since the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (Hipaa) was passed in 1996, patients have had the right to read and even amend their own medical records.

But what about the notes physicians take about their patients? Could these be misinterpreted or cause patients to excessively worry over minor abnormalities? A recent article in The New York Times examines this issue.

For one year, the study called OpenNotes allowed over 13,000 patients from three medical centers to have complete access to the notes their doctors wrote about them. At the end of the study, the results were resoundingly positive.

"Approximately three-quarters of all the doctors said that such transparency had none of the dreaded impacts on their practice," writes Pauline W. Chen, M.D. "Many felt there was more trust, better communication, more shared decision-making and increased patient satisfaction."

Patients who had full access to the notes of their physicians were better able to follow the treatment recommendations fully, according to the results of the study, which may lead to more widespread implementation of this program in other institutions.

"While a portion of the doctors were hesitant at the beginning of the study," writes Chen, "not a single one opted to stop sharing notes with patients after the study ended." Read the full details here:

Letting Patients Read the Doctor's Notes

Steve Crandall, a top-rated medical malpractice attorney throughout Ohio and Kentucky, is puzzled by the fact that very few patients choose to exercise the right to their own medical records.

"There is a definite power in viewing your own chart," says Crandall. "Not to mention, it can greatly increase the communication between yourself and your medical provider. Some patients even choose their provider or hospital based on free access to their chart via computer."

If you have any questions regarding medical malpractice throughout Ohio and Kentucky, contact Steve Crandall. Steve is available to help answer your questions and guide you in determining your next steps.


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