Should We Share Therapy Notes with Our Patients?
Like most psychiatrists, you are likely a bit wary of sharing your therapy notes with your patients. Will they be offended by reading painfully honest descriptions of their issues? Will they be confused by your use of psychiatric terminology?
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is testing whether these concerns are valid. According to a report in the New York Times (http://nyti.ms/1sntbeM), the medical center has allowed about 700 patients to log on to a hospital website within days of an office visit and read their therapist’s session notes via their computer or smartphone.
A potential benefit of this program is that patients can recognize the progress they are making when they read therapists’ positive comments. But even proponents recognize that it’s a controversial idea. “We’re creating a revolution,” Dr. Tom Delbanco, a professor at Harvard and a proponent of giving patients access to therapy notes told the Times. “Some people are aghast.”
Indeed, the Times article generated over 360 comments on the newspaper’s website—both pro and con. The practice is new and there hasn’t been time for an evaluation of the benefits and risks. But Beth Israel isn’t alone in its experiment. The Department of Veteran Affairs began making medical and mental health records available online to patients last year and is only just beginning to study the effect on mental health patients, the Times said.
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