Friday, September 25, 2009

Grab Bag Friday: Open Notes

So here's an interesting question...

You sit on the exam table, dangle your feet over the edge like a kid, stick out your tongue, breathe deeply, jabber on about this vague pain in your left side, and all the while your doctor is scribbling away on that little clipboard (or in some offices, typing madly away on the keyboard).

Do you ever wish you could see what your doctor writes about you after you walk out of the room?

More importantly, do you think seeing your doctor's notes would improve your health, your healthcare, or your relationship with your doctor?

My very impressive little sister is working on a very impressive (not so little) study called Open Notes, where doctors will make their private notes available to their patients online. As you can imagine, doctors have some mixed feelings about this. Check out Monday's NPR story about Open Notes.

Technically, you can see your notes now if you ask. It's a law. But depending on your doctor, it may be more difficult than trying to get an appointment with the president.

So what do you think?

I definitely would look at my notes if they were online. It would especially be helpful if I could look up past visits because I have a terrible memory (what prescription did we decide I was allergic to again? what was my blood pressure?) and maybe track data (an easily accessible record of my cholesterol levels over the years would be great).

But I do wonder if my doctor would be candid, knowing I could see what she writes. Then again, if I can't see it, does it matter how candid she is? I'm glad people are trying to experiment with different ways of doing things. We've got all these smart people around with great ideas...why not try out a few?

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