Patients want access to their records

But some doctors are wary of consequences of openness

Two recent studies indicate that patients want to be able to access and share their electronic health information, but some doctors are wary of the idea.

The first study, done by the Harvard Medical School, queried more than 37,000 patients and more than 170 primary-care physicians about their expectations for a new system called OpenNotes. The system provides patients with an online portal to access their physicians’ notes.

Researchers found that more than 90 percent of patients were enthusiastic about the system, and a majority of doctors (64 percent) agreed to participate in it. But a majority of those who chose not to participate thought the system would be time-consuming because it would require them to answer more patient questions. They also worried that opening the notes might lead some doctors to censor notes related to mental health, substance abuse and other issues.

The second study, done by Stanford University, found that 79 percent of patients were interested in sharing their personal health record with a caregiver, family member or outside health-care provider.