A recent article in the Wall Street Journal entitled, "Access to Doctor’s Notes Aids Patients’ Treatment", highlights an interesting topic of patients actually reading, or requesting, their medical records from visits with their primary care physician.
The study was entitled "OpenNotes" and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Ultimately the study concluded that an overwhelming 77% to 87% of patients felt more in control of their medical care and were more compliant with their prescription medication. Initially, there were concerns from physicians that their notes may offend or scare off patients but 105 primary care physicians participated in the study. Interestingly, the article points out that only about 34% of doctors nationwide have adopted electronic medical records.
From the perspective of this plaintiff’s attorney, when you think about the other audiences reviewing your records:
- referring physicians to further your care; (Good)
- insurance companies and adjusters to deny your medical benefits to save them money; (Bad) and
- both plaintiff and defense attorneys for disputes in personal injuries, workers’ compensation claims, and/or social security disability claims. (Good & Bad)
The only logical step is to ensure you as a patient are just as knowledgeable of your own records as the jack legged insurance adjuster combing through your file to find anything to deny you benefits you deserve, while falsely acting as if they have medical degrees.
In the end you know, it is your body and your life. Yes, you are legally entitled to those records, too.