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Medical News & Perspectives
April 7, 2021

How Sharing Clinical Notes Affects the Patient-Physician Relationship

JAMA. 2021;325(16):1596-1598. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.4755
JAMA Medical News Audio (34:02)
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Tom Delbanco, MD, will never forget his “aha!” moment, even though it was nearly 50 years ago.

The patient sitting across from him had been referred to Delbanco for evaluation of hypertension. But Delbanco thought the man’s symptoms suggested he consumed more alcohol than he’d acknowledged.

Delbanco considered adding alcohol misuse to the patient’s “problems list,” but he stopped writing after realizing that the patient, a printer who set type by hand, was reading his notes upside down. Delbanco explained why he had stopped writing and informed the patient that he suspected he drank more than 2 beers a day. If that was the case, Delbanco added, it should be noted on his chart.

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