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The eMatchPhysicians Blog
Project Puts Records in the Patients’ Hands
Posted on: Friday, January 13, 2012
A new idea is being toss around in the medical field; this idea is to allow patients to have access to their medical charts. The patient would take their own medical charts home and go over every word their physician has wrote in it. The point of this would be to better educate patients about their own health, this would allow for patients and physicians to be on the same page.
Patients currently feel as if their medical records are classified data; patients never see what the doctors scribble in file. Some believe that if patients were able to possess these records and read through them it would result in patients taking more control over their own health care.
A study was done by a research collaboration called OpenNotes to test the attitudes of both physicians and patients about shared medical files. The research collaboration
“recruited more than 100 primary care doctors who were already using electronic health records to volunteer to share their medical notes with patients. The researchers asked both participating doctors and doctors who declined to join the project about expectations and concerns, and surveyed nearly 38,000 patients.”
The doctors seemed to be worried that by sharing these files the patients would demand more time or become worried and confused. On the other hand the patients overall attitude was positive, “90 percent thought they would be more in control of their care if they saw the notes. They weren’t worried about being confused. Most said seeing the record would help them take better care of themselves: They would better remember the treatment plan, understand it and take their medication.”
The article in the NY Times also touched on is some of the negative effects of shared medical files. Experts did worry about the effect on sharing files with patients of mental illness and also substance abuse. Dr. Delbanco, A head researcher of the study, explained that, “the shared medical record is a new medicine. It’s designed to help more people than it hurts, but invariably it may hurt some patients. Medicines are never perfect.”
The overall concept of the shared medical file is to allow for the patient to be more aware of their health care. Researchers of the shared medical file study believe that this will increase patient knowledge, and in the end knowledge is power.
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