Feb 16, 2012, 11:33 AM, Posted by
Pioneer Blog Team
Lately, there’s been a lot of conversation about increasing patient access to medical information. Much of this debate was sparked when Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, stated, “When it comes to health care, information is power.” While many providers and most patients are in support of increasing patient access to medical information, there are some who feel this change will make doctors’ jobs harder.
OpenNotes, a Pioneer-supported program that makes it easy for patients to access their doctors’ notes after a visit, is at the heart of this debate, as was seen in a series of columns in February’s SGIM Forum. In this newsletter Tom Delbanco, MD, and Jan Walker, RN, MBA, the lead investigators working to determine the impact of sharing doctors’ notes with patients (Part 1), debate the merits of this new level of transparency with Douglas Olson, MD (Part 2), and well-known patient advocate e-Patient Dave (Part 3).
In a post on The Health Care Blog, John Lumpkin, MD, MPH, senior vice president and director of the Health Care Group at RWJF, weighs in on this debate. Learn why Lumpkin thinks that increasing access is a good idea and tell us what you think.
Jan 4, 2012, 9:00 AM, Posted by
Last week, I contributed to The Health Care Blog about OpenNotes, a Pioneer grantee that is enabling patients to view the notes their doctors write after a medical visit. I wrote that it is a simple idea – but also a dangerous one.
OpenNotes recently completed a pre-survey published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that asked doctors and patients about their expectations of how the idea would play out in real life. What they found is fascinating. Doctors and patients are clearly divided. On a wide range of possible benefits, doctors are more skeptical than patients. But what really jumps out are the responses to questions of whether patients would find the notes more confusing than useful, and whether the notes would make them worry more. The gap is dramatic. In each case, most doctors said “yes” while less than one in six patients agreed.
Why this disconnect between doctors and their patients? Why the gap between what doctors believe their patients can handle, and what patients feel they are ready to see?
The post has generated a nice discussion on the blog, and in the comment responses you’ll find that the results of the survey are reflected in the dialogue. I recently added my own two cents to the conversation, and I’d love to see you post your thoughts, as well.
The survey results have also been covered by USA Today, MSNBC.com, and TIME’s Healthland Blog.