Can Patients Benefit From Reading Copies of Their Doctors' Letters About Them?
BMJ (British Medical Journal). 1986 Nov 15; 293(6557): 1278-1279.
Britain's Data Protection Act has raised the question of patients' access to their medical records. In the authors' study, patients at a rheumatology clinic received either a copy of the consultant's letter to their general practitioner or a post-consultation discussion with a staff member. Both patient groups were asked to rate the two approaches. A group of general practitioners and additional patients were asked to rank these approaches as well as the alternative of receiving a clinic letter in "everyday" language followed by a discussion with the physician. This last option was least preferred by patients; opinions on the other options were divided. Only 13% of the physicians approved of the clinic letter, and over half thought the consultant's letter was the worst option. The authors conclude that patients benefit from consultants' letters and recommend that patients be allowed more access to medical notes. (KIE abstract)
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