Central PA health system opens doctors' notes to patients

Written by Craig Layne and Radio Pennsylvania | Jun 6, 2013 2:11 PM
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(Danville) -- A new initiative at a central Pennsylvania health system is giving patients more access to information about their care.

Montour County-based Geisinger Health System has spent a year trying the OpenNotes system with more than 100 doctors and 19,000 patients.

Now, OpenNotes will be made available to the more than 100,000 patients and 500 doctors in the Montour County-based system.

Doctor Jonathan Darer is chief innovation officer at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

He says a vast majority of patients responded positively after reading their doctors' notes.

"Seventy to 80 percent of the patients who were in the trial reported that they felt more in control of their health care by having access to this information," Darer says. "They felt that they understood their medical conditions better."

Darer says some doctors were concerned their notes may offend patients, but the pilot program found it was not an issue.

He says Geisinger will continue to study whether sharing notes on everything from appointments to prescriptions has a measurable impact on patients' health outcomes.

Hospitals in Boston and Seattle are also participating in OpenNotes, which is supported through a $1.4 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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