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Study: Patients Want to Read Medical Chart, Doctors Apprehensive


You ever wonder what your doctor is scribbling about you in your medical chart? Well, you’re not alone.

A new survey found more than 90 percent of patients said they would want to know what the doctor wrote about them. However, most doctors are apprehensive to let patients take a peak.

The survey involved patients and physicians at primary care practices in Boston, Seattle and rural Pennsylvania. Of the 254 doctors included in the survey 140 said they would decline to let patients view electronic health records. Of the 114 doctors who said they would let patients view the chart, about 81 percent said they thought allowing patients to see the chart would be beneficial to patients.

Medical charts generally include a patient’s medical history, what was discussed during the exam and at times a physician’s opinion about the patient’s condition.

Patients included in the study said seeing the chart would be helpful to their health with three-quarters reporting it would improve their adherence to their medication. About 20 percent said they would share the information from the record with their family to increase the likelihood of following the doctor’s advice.

Seeing what your doctor has to say about you might not always lead to healthier lifestyle changes.

If a patient is brazen enough to steal the records they could end up like Elaine from Seinfeld, dealing with the fact that she is “difficult.”

The study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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