Veterans Find Value in Online Access to Clinical Notes, Study Shows

November 14, 2014 in News

A majority of veterans who have access to clinical notes through the Department of Veterans Affairs’ OpenNotes program felt the program was valuable, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, Clinical Innovation Technology reports (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation Technology, 11/11).

In 2013, the department launched the VA OpenNotes, which gives veterans the ability to access and read their clinical notes (VA release, 1/29/13).

Study Details, Findings

For the study, researchers conducted a Web-based survey between June 22, 2013, and Sept. 15, 2013, to gauge the experience of veterans who accessed their clinical notes online using the My HealtheVet portal’s Blue Button feature.

Overall, 33.5% of respondents were aware that their clinical notes could be viewed online, with nearly a quarter reporting having viewed their notes at least once (Nazi et al., JAMIA, 11/11).

Of those who accessed their clinical notes:

  • 91.9% said OpenNotes will help them remember their treatment plans;
  • 91.8% said it would help them better understand their health conditions;
  • 88.6% said it would help them better prepare for clinic visits; and
  • 80.1% said it would help with medication adherence.

Meanwhile, the survey found:

  • 88.4% of respondents believed that having access to their clinical notes through OpenNotes would be more helpful than confusing; and
  • 87% of respondents did not feel that VA Notes would increase their worries (Clinical Innovation Technology, 11/11).

The authors concluded, “Additional outreach and education is needed to enhance patient awareness. Health care professionals should author notes keeping in mind the opportunity patient access presents for enhanced communication” (JAMIA, 11/11).

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