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My annual physical is this Friday.  Since my doctor and I were among the guinea pigs participants in the OpenNotes project, I just got this reminder email:

Message Date/Time: 1/17/2012 10:00:06 AM
Read Date/Time: 1/18/2012 7:19:08 AM
From: OpenNotes, Study
To: deBronkart, Richard Davies
Subject: Reminder: Review your doctor’s notes before your next visit!

Dear Patient,

You have a visit scheduled with your doctor soon, and you may find it helpful to review the notes your doctor wrote after your last visit.

The doctor’s notes can be found in the new “Notes” section of PatientSite.  To view your notes, …

I did, and my goodness, there’s a bunch of stuff in there that I’d forgotten!  (Shortly after my June visit I blogged that I’d looked back at the notes to remember a to-do, without having to call the office. Nice.)


  • It’s good that I can see it. Otherwise I would have been a less-prepared semi-idiot when I arrived.
  • Now I’m hustling to follow up on some issues before we meet. Shoulda been doing this earlier.
  • There’s more to patient engagement than just having access to the information.

Patients arriving unprepared might give doctors a sense that patients don’t know what’s going on. (Y’think?) It’s my responsibility to look at the notes and act on them, and honestly I’m not in that habit yet. My bad.

btw, my personal vision is for the shared medical record to be organized as a “shared issue tracker,” with dialog and entries about each item. Right now it’s a sequence of individual visit notes, unstructured, with each topic somewhere in each visit. So collecting the notes for a given topic is manual.

(On a separate note, some people freak out at my “disclosing” that I have a doctor’s appointment – and some people even wonder if it’s a HIPAA violation for me to talk about my own medical record. No, it’s my records, my info; HIPAA regulations affect custodians of my data.)


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