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Medical Note System May Boost Patient Engagement

Adding notes to their personal medical charts—a task typically handled only by medical professionals—may help patients feel more involved with their care and improve relationships with their doctors, a study has found.

In research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, doctors at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Health and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that patients could benefit if they are invited to co-produce medical notes, called OurNotes, with their doctors, rather than merely reading them.


The growing OpenNotes movement allows doctors to share visit notes with patients, who may then contribute to their own medical records via OurNotes—adding material such as symptoms or medical issues they experienced since their last visit, along with goals for upcoming visits.


“If executed thoughtfully, OurNotes has the potential to reduce documentation demands on clinicians, while having both the patient and clinician focusing on what’s most important to the patient,” said lead author John Mafi, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine in the division of general internal medicine and health services research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.


The concept is being tested to ensure that it will benefit patients and providers while not increasing providers’ workloads or disrupting workflow.

This article was adapted from information provided by UCLAHealth Sciences.