Physician Opinions on Benefits of Open Visit Notes Vary

And, 79 percent of patients are interested in sharing their personal health record information

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Primary care physicians (PCPs) have varied opinions about open access to doctors' notes; and most users of a personal health record (PHR) system are interested in sharing access to their information, according to two studies published in the Dec. 20 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Jan Walker, R.N., M.B.A., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues explored doctors' and patients' attitudes toward access to doctors' notes. Open visit notes were regarded as a good idea by 69 to 81 percent of the participating PCPs (who shared their notes), 92 to 97 percent of patients, and 16 to 33 percent of non-participating PCPs. Compared to non-participating PCPs, participating PCPs and patients were more likely to agree on the potential benefits of open visit notes, including improved communication and patient education. More than half of participating, and most non-participating PCPs, expected greater worry among patients, but few patients agreed. Patients of all ages and education and health status were enthusiastic and expected to share the notes with others.

Donna M. Zulman, M.D., from the Veteran Affairs (VA) Palo Alto Health Care System in Menlo Park, Calif., and colleagues explored preferences regarding shared access to data for 18,471 users of the U.S. VA Department's PHR system. Seventy-nine percent of respondents showed an interest in sharing PHR access with someone outside of the health system, especially family members and a non-VA health care provider. The type of information being shared, type of activity being performed, and relationship with the selected person determined preferences for the extent of access.

"Most respondents were interested in sharing access to their electronic health information," Zulman and colleagues write.

Abstract - Walker
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Abstract - Zulman
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