September 10, 2014 – Honesty


Anchor lead:  Would reading your own medical chart result in a little too much information? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Open Notes may be coming soon to your physician’s office, allowing you to read your own chart and what your physician has to say about you.  Howard Levy, an internal medicine physician and advocate for the project at Johns Hopkins, says some physicians identify one concern as primary.

Levy: I’m enthusiastic.  Any time a patient has asked for my notes I’ve had no qualms about sharing.  Sometimes there are technical barriers that make it hard to do but I’m not at all concerned about letting my patients read what I say about them.  Some of my colleagues are worried about if my note says my patient is obese, or the patient was ornery, or I think the patient is abusing drugs, or I’m concerned the patient might have cancer.  Those are scary things for a patient to hear, but if I think that, patients aren’t dumb.  Most of them suspect that I think that, and when it’s there in black and white it’s actually there in the open.  And that actually forwards the discussion.   :31

Levy believes disclosure and open dialog about observations the physician has made will ultimately improve the doctor/patient relationship and partnership to manage medical problems.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.