Open Notes: Information to Help You Manage Your Care

| Posted On Feb 11, 2021 | By:

doctor wearing mask speaking with her patientAtrius Health is pleased to announce that our patients will soon have even more health information easily accessible in their MyHealth Online accounts. Beginning on March 1, 2021, for care you or your children ages 12 and under receive on or after that date, you will be able to see the “notes” that your Atrius Health provider recorded based on your visit with them. In addition, starting on April 10, 2021, MyHealth users will be able to view laboratory, radiology, other imaging and pathology results and reports without delay. Most of your notes and results will be available, with some limited exceptions.

Atrius Health believes in the importance of transparency and patient access to this information as well as the real health benefits for our patients when they can see these notes. Studies have shown that sharing notes has the potential to help you improve your health and well-being by:

Below please find a few Frequently Asked Questions about this change and what you will see in your MyHealth account as of March 1, 2021. Don’t have a MyHealth Online account? Sign Up Now!

What Exactly Are Open Notes?

After your in-person or virtual care visits, doctors, nurses and other health care providers write notes that summarize important information about you. These notes become a part of your medical record. And when a note is shared with you in MyHealth, it becomes an “open note.” A note may include:

How notes look depends on a few things, like who writes the note or the kind of visit it was and the reason for the visit (for example, a follow-up visit or a physical). Sometimes the notes are short; others may be more detailed.

How Do I View These Notes?

Log into your MyHealth account and go to Visits > Appointments and Visits. For any care visit you have had after March 1, 2021, there will be a link called “View Visit Notes,” and when you click on it, you will see the notes that your provider recorded at that visit.
MyHealth screen shots for open notes

Do Open Notes Affect My Privacy or Confidentiality?

It’s important to know that open notes do not change the confidential relationship you have with your health care providers. This effort does not change our commitment to privacy that you can learn more about in our Notice of Privacy Practices.

The information in your records is about you, and you can choose to share it with others. With ready electronic access to your notes, it’s much easier to share your medical information with a care partner, family member, or others—but only if you choose to do so.

To help ensure your privacy, remember to:

Will All My Notes be Shared with Me?

There are situations in which your, or your child’s health information will not be visible in MyHealth Online. For example, your notes may not be visible to protect the privacy of an individual or to prevent harm to you or another person.

Please also be aware that if YOU do not want a provider’s note available as an Open Note, you can ask your provider not to display it. Your provider will retain the note in their documentation of the visit, but it will not display in your MyHealth Online account.

Why Won’t My Teenager See Notes in Their MyHealth Account?

Our pediatric providers routinely discuss sensitive topics, such as sexual activity and substance use, with our adolescent patients. When we do this, we document information in notes that an adolescent may wish to keep private from their parents. Parents may also discuss information with their child’s providers that they wish to keep confidential from their child. Unfortunately, our electronic health record is unable to separate material intended to be kept confidential from non-confidential information. For this reason, we are not sharing notes for adolescents ages 13-17 years old with patients or their parents/proxies at this time.

What if I Have Questions or Concerns about the Information in My Note?

Your note may have medical language that’s not easy to understand. You can find a lot on the Internet, but try to make sure it comes from a reliable source. View this list of common abbreviations to help you with medical terms. If you have questions, write them down. Follow through, whether with a friend, your provider, or any source you trust.

If you find an inaccuracy in your note and you feel it is a serious issue, contact your provider’s office. For other inaccuracies, write down the correction and bring it to your provider’s team’s attention so your records can be updated. Clinicians often dictate their notes, and small spelling or grammatical errors sometimes arise in voice recognition. If these less immediate issues feel important, bring them up at the next visit with your provider.

What if I’m worried about what I might read?

Reading notes about medical appointments may not be right for everyone. Follow your instincts. For some people, just knowing that the notes are available is enough. Thousands of patients report that the benefits from reading notes are much greater than the risks. In fact, reading notes often builds or reinforces your trust in those taking care of you. And studies show that very few people report feeling harmed by what they read.

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