OpenNotes

Will reading your doctor's notes make you healthier?

In an old Seinfeld episode, Elaine visits her doctor  and manages to sneak a peek at the physician’s notes. She sees she’s been labeled "difficult." The doctor grabs the notes from her and after a confrontation, jots down more notes. Later, Elaine convinces Kramer to try to get access to her chart, but he walks out empty-handed only to report, "they’ve now created a chart on me."

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) now allows patients access to their medical records, but few patients—like Elaine--have ever lain eyes on their records. And those who try commonly face bureaucratic obstacles and exorbitant copying fees.

One doctor thought that openly inviting patients to review these records could better engage patients, and increase their understanding of health and treatment regimens. So he decided to find out for sure. » Read more

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