Recently, more than 520 of our physicians starting sharing their notes on office visit with patients. All general pediatricians and primary care doctors and other few doctors within dermatology, pediatric subspecialties, pulmonology, endocrinology, rheumatology, nephrology, cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, vascular surgery, women’s health and neurosurgery, including gynecology oncology and obstetrics and participating actively in OpenNotes.

This means that a great number of our patients are going to access notes on what medical practitioners write regarding them and their condition. After every visit to a doctor’s office, patients are going to be receiving email invites where they can read notes written by their doctors through a secure online portal, MyGeisinger. Allowing patients to access notes of their doctors is a very pool tool when it comes to involving patients in their own health care. This assists them to remember much more regarding what they discussed with their doctors during the appointment and this gives them a better understanding of their condition and instructions on following care.

A look at how we got here

Geisinger is one of the three study websites, which took part in a trial lasting for one year on OpenNotes and was supported by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. For more than 12 months, more than 81 physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, Boston and twenty four primary care doctors at Geisinger took the initiative of sharing their professional notes with the patients.

Availability of physician notes on the Internet made a significant difference to the patients. More than 82 percent of patients at Geisinger viewed their notes. In addition, these patients reported that they felt to have more control over their health care and were able to take medications according to the doctor’s prescriptions after sharing the notes. It is not always often that a single medicine study is able to quickly change the practice, but the evidence produced after patients accessed doctor’s notes was very compelling and Geisigner departments and health care providers adopted this as their new health care standard.

A few of the departments are quite tentative and are resulting to test the implications of this kind of openness with their patients. The hospital noted that it won’t be extending the OpenNotes into pain medicine or psychiatry. Even though pediatricians have also been participating on this new initiative, they have excluded young adults and adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years in efforts of safeguarding their privacy.

Expanding the OpenNotes

Geisinger anticipates that interest from patients in accessing the notes will increase and also hope that the OpenNotes concept is going to expand rapidly to other Geisinger physicians. By the July of 201, they anticipate having about 80 percent of their eligible physicians on board. As we continue moving ahead, it is our hope that others are going to join us and will adopt the OpenNotes system.