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Doctor, Can I See Your Notes?

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What's the Latest Development?

For a year, researchers at two American medical centers tracked doctors' and patients experiences with having medical notes available for access on the OpenNotes Web site. The results were published in Annals of Internal Medicine and showed many different ways in which having a view into the doctor's charts can improve the doctor-patient relationship.

What's the Big Idea?

Perhaps not surprisingly, from the doctors' perspective there were many concerns, including not being tactful enough (and some doctors did self-censor due to this worry) and being bombarded with patients asking even more detailed questions. Also, just seeing a diagnosis from a licensed medical professional can be disconcerting to patients. However, it can also serve as the impetus needed to finally do something about, say, weight gain, and interact with the doctor on a new level: "What if you could write back -- right there on your chart -- that you had been stressed at work, or were going through personal difficulties? Just as there are many things you can learn about yourself from reading your doctor's notes, there are plenty of things that you know that your doctor does not."

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