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Brian Patty comments on patient access to clinical notes

The OpenNotes movement began in 2010, when three organizations -- Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Geisinger Health System in rural Pennsylvania and Seattle's Harborview Medical Center -- launched an exploratory study and invited 20,000 of their patients to read their notes via secure online portals. The study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, examined the effects of sharing notes on patients and doctors. The movement has now spread to more than 200 organizations that have shared notes with over 38 million patients to date. This latest study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research shows the positive impact the movement has had on patients in understanding and engaging in their care.

Previous studies have shown that patients only remember about 30% of what we tell them at the time of discharge from the hospital or clinic. This study reveals that patients used the notes released to their secure online portals to review their medications and plan of care, improving compliance and, interestingly, their decisions on which providers they choose in the future.

We all struggle to engage our patients in their care and improve compliance with treatment plans and medication adherence. Sharing notes with our patients through a secure online portal is now proven to be an easy and effective tool toward this effort. Let's all get on board with OpenNotes.