Read Your Clinicians' Notes

Many Beth Israel Deaconess patients are being invited to read the health care notes their doctors, nurses and other clinicians write after an appointment or discussion. We call this OpenNotes.

These notes are available on PatientSite, a secure website where our patients can manage their health care online, anytime. We are currently sharing outpatient notes written by clinicians in:

  • Primary Care
  • All Medicine subspecialties
  • Surgery
  • Dermatology
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Neurology
  • Nutrition Services
  • Pain Management
  • Rehabilitation Services

Psychiatry and Social Work clinicians are also studying OpenNotes with a small number of patients.

Over the coming months, we will begin sharing other outpatient notes.

What are clinicians' notes?

Doctors, nurses and other clinicians write notes after an appointment or discussion with a patient. These notes summarize what they discussed, the findings, what was measured and the treatment plan. The notes become part of a patient's medical record.

When patients read their notes, it can help them better remember what was discussed during visits, take their medications as prescribed, and feel more in control of their care.

Benefits of OpenNotes

I just got my first open note. This is a huge step forward, and I congratulate you on this pioneering effort. Like many great ideas, this one will soon seem simple and obvious. For now, it feels revolutionary.
Charlie Brenner, patient

OpenNotes is a simple idea that is beginning to take hold in health care. BIDMC is among the first medical centers in the country to invite patients to participate in this transparent approach to care. Why are we doing this? Because research has shown important benefits for patients.

We began by taking part in a multicenter, year-long study, led by BIDMC's Tom Delbanco, MD, and Jan Walker, RN, MBA. Ten thousand BIDMC patients participated with their doctors. After a year, patients who had OpenNotes reported not only feeling more in control of their care, but actually taking better care of themselves. Ninety-nine percent of patients chose to keep OpenNotes after the study ended. At the same time, physicians involved in the study saw benefit and little burden. They also decided to continue with OpenNotes when the study ended.

In keeping with BIDMC's legacy of leadership in putting the patient at the center of what we do, and because the study showed that OpenNotes is valuable to patients and physicians alike, we are making clinicians' notes available to our patients.

More about OpenNotes