What your doctor is really thinking

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center announced their new “Open Notes” project yesterday. According to the hospital new release, the project “will examine the impact of adding new layer of openness to a traditionally one-sided element of the doctor-patient relationship – the notes from patients’ doctors’ visits.”

The Globe sort of scooped them and then some with a story two weeks ago about how some docs are nervous about the project.

Doctors write these one- to two-page comments after every visit, and other physicians who treat the patient read them, too. But the notes usually aren’t readily available to patients because hospitals and doctors’ groups fear that they will misunderstand medical jargon, take offense at a blunt observation, or worry unnecessarily about a precautionary test.

After requesting a copy of my records, I ended up with a two-inch thick pile of paperwork. When I read some of my GI doctor’s notes, I did feel a bit misunderstood. I had just had two-hour long gallstone attack AFTER getting my gall bladder out.  She described me as “very upset,” which was true. On one hand, I appreciated that she recognized my angst. But, somehow, it felt patronizing.   

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