You've just walked out of a clinic appointment with your UMMC physician. You wish you'd written down what the doctor explained as she typed up her notes and listened more closely to what your blood test results meant.
Patients can get quick and secure access to the notes their providers take during outpatient visits by using a form of communication advocated by a national nonprofit organization. It's called OpenNotes, an initiative that UMMC providers will take part in beginning Sunday, Jan. 8.
According to its creators, OpenNotes promotes transparency in medical records and empowers patients to not only monitor their care, but catch errors in caregivers' notes that could result in harm. It creates a new partnership between patients and their providers.
On its website, the OpenNotes organization estimates patients quickly forget up to 80 percent of the verbal information their caregivers provide to them.
“This helps the patient understand what they've been told in clinic,” said Dr. Louis Harkey, Robert R. Smith Chair of Neurosurgery, who's helping to spearhead the effort. “And this can have huge safety benefits if a patient finds an error.
"This creates a collaborative relationship between the patient and provider.”
“It's definitely a culture shift for us, that's for sure,” said Dr. Shannon Pittman, professor of family medicine and director of the Family Medicine Residency Program. “But it will create lots of opportunity to adopt the culture of 'The information in the record is the patient's information.'”