A study currently under way, called the OpenNotes project, is looking at what happens when doctors’ notes become available for a patient to read, usually on electronic medical records. In a report on the early stages of the study, published Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers say that inviting patients to review the records can improve patient understanding of their health and get them to stick to their treatment regimens more closely.
The year-long OpenNotes study, funded with a $1.5 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, involves 25,000 patients and their primary-care physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess, Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa., and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. “We want to break down an important wall that currently separates patients from those who care for them,” says lead investigator Tom Delbanco, a Harvard Medical School professor who treats patients at Beth Israel. (excerpted from “What the Doctor is Thinking” WSJ, July 20, 2010)