Did you know that you have the legal right to all of your medical records including your doctor’s notes after your visit? Today, a study was released showing that a patient’s ability to access all of their medical records including physician’s notes helped the patient understand their health better. Patients with access to these records were understood their health issues, were more likely to remember what their physician’s said to them and were more likely to take their medication.
This study was done by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA, gave patients access to their medical records online, including the physician’s notes. The study found that 77% to 87% of the patients with access to their records who returned their survey felt more in control of their medical care.
If this study is accurate, why don’t more patients have access to their medical records? First, everyone has access to their medical records, as I stated above you have a legal right to your medical records. However, many people don’t know this or they don’t care to go through the steps required to obtain their records. Further, this study was performed online with the participating doctors maintaining electronic records. Nationally, however, only 34% of physician’s use electronic records. When your medical records are not in a computer it could make it harder to access them.
Another issue in receiving your medical record is that many physicians are hesitant to give their patients access to their notes, believing that the notes could confuse or offend patients. However, this study showed that very few patients were offended or confused by the physician’s notes. Further, the physician’s notes caused a few in the study to change their lifestyle. Additionally, 36% of the physician’s reported that they changed the language in their notes in order to ensure that they did not offend patients, specifically in regards to terms used to describe patient’s weight, substance abuse and other similar areas of sensitivity for patients.
Access to medical records is important as this study shows. Understanding your medical status is critical and everyone should be active in his or her medical treatment. An open communication with your physician can help you understand what your health condition is and tackle it head on or if you are a patient without any serious medical conditions open communication can help you know what you must to do to continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This study is every informative showing how important knowledge is in the medical community and though it will not make every patient rush out and review their entire medical record, it is essential that we continue to develop open communication with our physicians.
Please remember you have the legal right to access your medical records whether you are healthy or unhealthy, and the information you receive from that record can be extremely informative. There are certain ways you can get them that you should be aware of too. Also, if please remember that open communication with your physician is essential to your health so be active and ask questions if you have them. In addition, do note that your medical record should be available to you—and only you. Make sure your physician is keeping your records safe too!
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] . You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.