Health IT Pulse

Aug 9 2010   9:33AM GMT

Should patients see all personal health information?

Beastwood Profile: Beastwood

Tags:
patient engagement
personal health records

A yearlong experiment to give patients unprecedented access to their personal health information is underway at facilities in three states.

Through the OpenNotes project, more than 100 physicians at three facilities — Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston; Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa. and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle — will give 25,000 patients access via secure email to the notes they take during a visit. (Patients have a right to see this personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, but red tape often stands in the way.)

The idea is that such access may improve communication and collaboration between patients and physicians, may reduce medical errors as patients and their families more closely monitor care, and ultimately may boost patients’ trust in their physicians, according to project leaders Dr. Tom Delbanco and Jan Walker, both of Beth Israel Deaconess.

There are some potential pitfalls, of course. Physicians may alter notes for candor or complexity before sending them off to patients. In addition, as a discussion on Dr. Bryan Vartabedian’s blog suggests, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have expressed concern that patients may take notes personally. Finally, many health care providers are concerned that once patients know they can email their physicians, they will do with reckless abandon.

The key question, as a recent Annals of Internal Medicine article points out, is whether patients and providers will see enough value in OpenNotes to continue the project once it officially concludes next summer.

As we’ve reported, patient and vendor interest in personal health records remains tepid at best. Perhaps an initiative embraced by physicians will be more successful. Anything that gives patients better access to personal health information, which they can use to make healthier, more responsible decisions, ought to succeed.

13  Comments on this Post

 
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  • MedeFile1
    Hi Brian! Great read here. I totally agree with you that it will create less errors. There are certain Personal Health Record sites like MedeFile that actually obtains all of your medical history and you as the patient have the option of how you want to carry your electronic health records. I am unsure if having this will create more jobs or cut them, becuase doctors are going to be so busy that maybe they will need someone to answer all of the patients' emails.
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  • Jenny Laurello
    Should patients see all personal health information? https://bit.ly/dx6Tny #EHR #HealthIT #HIT #PHR
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  • Patric Kane Williams
    RT @HITExchange: Should patients see all personal health information? https://bit.ly/dx6Tny #EHR #HealthIT #HIT #PHR
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  • Alvin Tanicala
    Should patients see all personal health information? https://bit.ly/cOkrBY
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  • Medefile
    Interesting read: Should Patients See all Personal Health Information?... https://bit.ly/dCxaLp #EHR #EMR #Medical #Records
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  • EHRscope
    A patient's health information is their information. Could it enable hypochondriacs? Sure, but doctors or insurance companies or any company for that matter shouldn't and doesn't own your information. Allowing patients to see their medical history will create more work for doctors, but it will also save lives, so it's great, in my opinion. One of my company's ([A href="http://www.ehrtv.com"]) purposes is to enable physicians to implement PHRs by providing resources. The benefits are too huge to ignore, and, in my opinion, far overpower the drawbacks.
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  • Jenny Laurello
    Should patients see all personal health information? https://bit.ly/dx6Tny #HealthIT #EHR #PHR
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  • Linda Lia
    Should patient see all of their personal health information? https://bit.ly/dCxaLp #PHR #CHR #EHR #MU
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  • Robert West PhD
    RT @EMRAnswers: Should patient see all of their personal health information? https://bit.ly/dCxaLp #PHR #CHR #EHR #MU
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  • Wm T Oravecz
    RT @EMRAnswers: Should patient see all of their personal health information? https://bit.ly/dCxaLp #PHR #CHR #EHR #MU
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  • Patric Kane Williams
    RT @EMRAnswers: Should patient see all of their personal health information? https://bit.ly/dCxaLp #PHR #CHR #EHR #MU
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  • OpenNotes study highlights enthusiasm for patient portal engagement - Health IT Pulse
    [...] reported not experiencing much of an increased workload in use of the service called OpenNotes. Patients also reported benefits and few concerns in their use of OpenNotes, but the study also [...]
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  • terryg
    Patients should have access to all of their records with no red tape or cost, because they have paid for them in the first place, whether it be insurance or out of pocket. The Records Manager and CEO and the hospital should all be liable for fines if they don't comply. There has to be a standard record keeping format for the medical fields where and doctor or surgeon or hospital can secure and read these records with out having to have a conversion program in order to access these records.
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