This article relays the experience of Leonor Fernandez, MD, with OpenNotes, a project that makes doctor’s notes available to patients. Through the story of his patient Diana, among others, Fernandez reflects on the complexity of the patient-provider relationship and the ways in which sharing patient notes provides both opportunities and challenges.
Fernandez writes that the sharing of patient notes has enabled him to connect and communicate with his patients. He also notes that fewer patients email him regarding the notes than he anticipated. However, Fernandez also writes about the confusion that sharing medical jargon can sometimes bring, even causing unnecessary anxiety for the patient. Fernandez reflects that despite the extra time and attention required to share his patient notes and answer their questions via email, the work he does in listening closely and responding compassionately remains important.