Primary care patients with mental health diagnoses are as enthusiastic about the utility of viewing their doctors' notes as other patients. A survey of 2,534 patients (400 with mental health diagnoses and 2,134 without) who had read at least one online doctor's note found that patients saw similar benefits in access to the notes, regardless of mental health status. Ninety-two percent of patients in both groups reported that access to doctors' notes would help them feel in control of their health care and help them understand their health and medical conditions. High percentages of both groups also reported they would take better care of themselves, be more prepared for doctor visits, and would more likely take medications as prescribed as a result of access to doctors' notes. In spite of lingering concerns about whether patients with mental illness should have access to their online medical records, the authors suggest that providing such access to all patients might contribute to greater adherence and trust and could potentially help destigmatize mental illness. The authors call for a fuller understanding of risks and benefits of online note access in patients with mental health conditions and interventions to mitigate potential adverse effects of this new tool.
Perceptions of Primary Care Notes by Patients With Mental Health Diagnoses
Joann G. Elmore, MD MPH, et al
David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, Calif