Inviting patients and care partners to read doctors' notes: OpenNotes and shared access to electronic medical records

J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2017 Apr 1;24(e1):e166-e172. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocw108.


We examined the acceptability and effects of delivering doctors' visit notes electronically (via OpenNotes) to patients and care partners with authorized access to patients' electronic medical records. Adult patients and care partners at Geisinger Health System were surveyed at baseline and after 12 months of exposure to OpenNotes. Reporting on care partner access to OpenNotes, patients and care partners stated that they had better agreement about patient treatment plans and more productive discussions about their care. At follow-up, patients were more confident in their ability to manage their health, felt better prepared for office visits, and reported understanding their care better than at baseline. Care partners were more likely to access and use patient portal functionality and reported improved communication with patients' providers at follow-up. Our findings suggest that offering patients and care partners access to doctors' notes is acceptable and improves communication and patients' confidence in managing their care.

Keywords: care partner; consumer health information; electronic health records; health information technology.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Caregivers
  • Communication
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated
  • Electronic Health Records*
  • Humans
  • Patient Access to Records*
  • Pennsylvania
  • Physician-Patient Relations