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Letting patients read the doctor's notes

The New York Times, October 5, 2012

Since 1996, when Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or Hipaa, patients have had the right to read and even amend their own records.In fact, few patients have ever consulted their own records. Many physicians also remained hesitant to share their notes, part of the patient’s records, because of concerns that such openness might have harmful effects on both their patients’ well-being and their own practices. Some worried that mention of minor abnormalities in laboratory values—for example, a slightly elevated prostate specific antigen or white blood cell count—could cause patients to worry unduly about some dread disease. Those fears, it now turns out, were largely unfounded.