Review of Benefits and Risks of Physicians Using OpenNotes With Patients

Benefits include improved patient engagement, while risks may include avoidance of writing candidly.
Benefits include improved patient engagement, while risks may include avoidance of writing candidly.

HealthDay News -- According to a report published in Medical Economics, the benefits of sharing notes with patients include improved patient engagement and empowerment, while potential risks may include more phone calls, questions and increase documentation time.

At the American College of Physicians conference in San Diego, physicians and patients discussed OpenNotes, the transparency movement founded in 2010 that currently provides open access to notes for more than 12 million patients nationwide.

Many physicians support the transparency efforts, while others feel that it will burden practices with additional administration work, increase documentation time, and possibly cause doctors to craft notes that are less honest due to fear of offending patients. 

However, patients and physicians who had used OpenNotes for an extended period of time reported a positive change in a 2012 study, with patients rarely reporting being confused, offended, or worried about the notes.

Potential benefits of OpenNotes include improved patient engagement and empowerment, better communication and transparency, improvement in documentation, and allowing patients to double-check notes for accuracy. 

Potential risks include more phone calls and questions, increased documentation time, avoidance of writing candidly about sensitive topics, possible misinterpretation of results, and privacy risks if records are accessed by others without consent.

Reference

Mazzolini C. "Top Benefits and Risks of Sharing Notes with Patients." Medical Economics. Updated March 30, 2017. Available at: http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/ medical-economics/news/top-benefits-and-risks-sharing-notes-patients. Accessed April 20, 2017.

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