Mental health patients: What if you could read your doctor's notes?

In any routine session with a psychiatrist, social worker or mental health care provider, it's common for doctors and therapists to take notes on their patients.

But what if, at the end of the session, patients could see these notes?

While it's standard practice to usually only share this information with other doctors, clinicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have started posting their notes in patients' online electronic files - where they are accessible for patients to read at will.

A strategy for improved care

Dr. Michael Kahn, a psychiatrist at Beth Israel Deaconess, said that he had some initial reservations about the strategy. But on March 1st, about 40 providers began sharing their session notes with patients.

"We all had some reservations," Dr. Kahn told the Boston Globe. “What about if a patient misinterpreted a note? Would they be upset about it? Would it confuse them?"

The practice of sharing notes has been adopted by a few medical centers across the nation, and the results seem to be encouraging. Kahn explained that a patient can ask questions, correct mistakes, or gain insight about things they might not be paying attention to during the session.

One patient described the notes as "a good way to see if you are on the same level."

Khan and his colleagues also suggest that access to notes could help patients who do not benefit from being "lectured," and that these individuals might have fewer defensive responses if they were to read notes in the privacy of their own homes.

Potential concerns

Some medical professionals think that this openness with patients, however, is risky. For people with mental health conditions, in particular, the language used may feel stigmatizing and harsh.

Federal law holds that patients can request their medical records - along with their doctor's notes - but many people either don't know this or don't bother to ask, the Boston Globe reports.

Dr. Gregg Meyer, chief clinical officer at Partners HealthCare in Massachusetts, says that putting medical notes online could be helpful - as long as they are accurate, for one, and that they also don't somehow diminish the quality of care.

“One of the key points that physicians need to think about is whether the way we document care is going to fundamentally change," he said.“First and foremost we have to make sure patient care is not compromised. We are watching their experience closely."

Source: Boston Globe

Image courtesy of voraorn/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

More Articles

Treating schizophrenia with medication often yields positive results. Nowadays, there are many...

An estimated 30% of people with schizophrenia have refractory schizophrenia, which means their...

Understanding the pathophysiology of schizophrenia (or, in other words, the physiological...

There are a number of talented musicians who have suffered from schizophrenia at some point in...

While most people can’t fathom purposely hurting themselves, self-injury is not uncommon with certain types of psychiatric disorders. Although it...

More Articles

More Articles

Treating schizophrenia with medication often yields positive results. Nowadays, there are many...

An estimated 30% of people with schizophrenia have refractory schizophrenia, which means their...

Understanding the pathophysiology of schizophrenia (or, in other words, the physiological...

There are a number of talented musicians who have suffered from schizophrenia at some point in...

While most people can’t fathom purposely hurting themselves, self-injury is not uncommon with certain types of psychiatric disorders. Although it...

Although schizophrenia goes back several thousand years, this most serious of psychiatric disorders was not officially coined “schizophrenia”...

It is not uncommon for people with schizophrenia to exhibit abnormal movements. These may include rocking, pacing, posturing, strange mannerisms,...

There are two commonly used sets of criteria for diagnosing schizophrenia and other mental health disorders: the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual...

The neurotransmitter serotonin is known to influence a number of important brain functions, including perception, mood, sleep, appetite, cognition...

There are a number of different research methods used in psychology, but one of the most interesting to the layperson is the case study. Case...

The question of whether people with schizophrenia know they are ill is actually quite...

The term "schizophrenic break" refers to an episode of acute psychosis in someone with...

Creatine is a type of acid naturally manufactured by our liver, pancreas and kidneys. One of its primary roles in the body is to provide energy...

No one knows exactly what causes schizophrenia, and there are a number of...

Acute schizophrenia is what most people think of when they think of schizophrenia: varying...