Physicians increasingly share ambulatory visit notes with patients to meet new federal requirements, and evidence suggests patient experiences improve without overburdening physicians. Whether sharing inpatient notes with parents of hospitalized children yields similar outcomes is unknown. In this pilot study, we evaluated parent and physician perceptions of sharing notes with parents during hospitalization.
Parents of children aged <12 years admitted to a hospitalist service at a tertiary children’s hospital in April 2019 were offered real-time access to their child’s admission and daily progress notes on a bedside inpatient portal (MyChart Bedside). Upon discharge, ambulatory OpenNotes survey items assessed parent and physician (attendings and interns) perceptions of note sharing.
In all, 25 parents and their children’s discharging attending and intern physicians participated. Parents agreed that the information in notes was useful and helped them remember their child’s care plan (100%), prepare for rounds (96%), and feel in control (91%). Although many physicians (34%) expressed concern that notes would confuse parents, no parent reported that notes were confusing. Some physicians perceived that they spent more time writing and/or editing notes (28%) or that their job was more difficult (15%). Satisfaction with sharing was highest among parents (100%), followed by attendings (81%) and interns (35%).
Parents all valued having access to physicians’ notes during their child’s hospital stay; however, some physicians remained concerned about the potential negative consequences of sharing. Comparative effectiveness studies are needed to evaluate the effect of note sharing on outcomes for hospitalized children, families, and staff.