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IT


Electronic benefits


A few providers, however, are taking a different view. They have recognized that the benefits of empowering patients electronically outweigh the risks; that far from endangering data privacy and safety, giving people electronic access to their medical records can induce them to take better care of themselves, deepen their understanding of both prevention and cure, and make them more motivated to participate in treatment programs.


Consider, for example, the results of the OpenNotes initiative in the United States, in which 105 primary care doctors at three major health centers—Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania and Harborview Medical Center in Seattle—invited more than 19,000 of their patients to read their visit notes online.


37 2 INSIGHT ON


HOSPITAL & HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT VOL. 3 ISSUE 2 FEBRUARY 2014


Before the onset of the yearlong trial, some doctors feared that granting such access would disrupt their workflow or worse, perhaps even damaging their relationship with patients by confusing, worrying or offending them. In fact, however, quite the opposite occurred. For most doctors involved, email traffic during the trial did not increase. But most important, many reported strengthened relationships with patients, between 77 percent and 85 percent of whom said they had gained a better understanding of their health and medical conditions.


A majority of patients also said they were taking greater care of themselves. Perhaps most telling, 99 percent of them wanted the OpenNotes program to continue.


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