New Efforts to Make Doctors' Notes Easily Accessible to Patients

Dr. Klara Gershman uses a laptop computer to enter information about her patient in Miami Beach, Florida. - Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Dr. Klara Gershman uses a laptop computer to enter information about her patient in Miami Beach, Florida.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

New Efforts to Make Doctors' Notes Easily Accessible to Patients

Some health advocates want to give patients easy access to the notes their doctors take. But some say doctors’ written comments could cause confusion and even harm. The benefits and risks of seeing your physicians’ notes.

By law, most patients have the right to access their medical records. But obtaining them can be time-consuming and expensive. A growing number of health advocates are pushing to give patients easy electronic access to physicians’ notes. They argue this improves patient care by aiding communication and reducing misunderstandings. About a dozen medical systems, including the Mayo Clinic and Kaiser Permanente Northwest, allow patients easy access to these records. But some doctors worry this could cause greater confusion and harm. In the next hour, Diane and a panel of guests discuss the pros and cons of making physicians’ notes easily accessible to patients.

Guests

Dr. Tom Delbanco

professor of general medicine and primary care, Harvard Medical School.

Lynn Quincy

associate director of health reform policy, Consumer Reports.

Dr. Kevin Donovan

director, Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Dr. Michael McNamara

chief medical information officer, Kaiser Permanente Northwest.

Featured Clip

Watch as patients and doctors describe their experience with Open Notes, an initiative to give patients online access to visit notes from their doctors and nurses. The study included more than 100 doctors from across the U.S.

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