• Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association
    Comprehensive Ophthalmology

    Patients participating in OpenNotes, a national program offering patients online access to their phycisians' notes, demonstrated better recall of their medical plans, felt more in control of their care and were more likely to take their medications.

    According to the paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics, patients immediately forget between 40% and 80% of what their doctors tell them. And they get about half of what they do remember wrong.

    "Those are two of the most depressing statistics I've ever heard. We have a big communication problem in our healthcare system, and that's an understatement," said John Mafi, MD, lead author and professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "We think that the next phase of all of this will actually have the patient become a co-author of the note, and we think that will truly be a partnership. This is the first effort in that next phase of really making the patient the center of the entire healthcare system, as opposed to an outside spectator. We think this is the way that healthcare is headed: The patient at the center of it all."

    The study also shows that follow-up emails are critical for more active patient engagement. Viewing clinical notes dropped by almost 50% once electronic reminders were stopped, while patients who continued receiving them tended to continue accessing notes.

    OpenNotes began in 2010, when 105 primary care physicians invited nearly 14,000 of their patients to view their electronic notes about their clinic visits. Doctors found that sharing their notes with patients had little negative impact on their workflow. Five years later, more than 5 million patients are participating in the OpenNotes movement.