Tuesday, October 02, 2012

What your doctor really thinks of you

Boston Globe’s Liz Kowalczyk, Oct 2, 2012, says although the HIPAA allows patients to request their patient record, including the doctor’s private notes, many people don’t do it because they think they will read something they don’t want to know.

Such as “patient a fat pig who won’t go on a diet”?

Or maybe you could find out right away, as we did NOT with our late mother, that you have a condition like atrial fibrillation—no one ever told us.

Or—and most importantly—you could find out the doctor thinks you are diabetic—and you are not.

Some researchers at the Geisinger Health System in Penn and Harborview Medical Center in Washington published a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine (Oct 1, 2012).

There were 13,564 patients and 87% opened at least one doctor note. Of that, 77 to 87% said the notes made them feel more in control of their health care.

Almost 62% thought they should be able to add to the notes—the vast majority of the docs disagreed.

We tried to add to the diabetic note on Mom—saying it was wrong. They would not take it out but let us say we didn’t agree, like this was a matter of opinion. They had checked the wrong pulldown option! That was lame.

Knowing the notes will be read led doctors to making them more complete—if a cancer test was done, the doc might add—that it was a precaution, cancer was most unlikely.

Do you get your chart after every visit? I do sometimes, other times, not.

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