Take Control of Your Health: Read Your Doctor's Notes
Feb 26, 2018 Cedars-Sinai Staff
Knowledge is power, and learning as much as possible from your doctor visits is key to taking charge of your health.
A complete picture
"Often, so many topics are covered during an appointment that it's hard to remember everything," says Cedars-Sinai's Dr. Lacy Knowles. "Reviewing your doctor's notes helps you keep track of what was said, including answers to any questions you asked."
In addition to getting a refresher on what you talked about, reviewing your doctor's notes allows you to monitor changes over time by viewing trends in your lab results, weight, and blood pressure.
"This will help you understand how we look at problems and approach a diagnosis or solution. Sometimes a doctor can't explain everything during an office visit but will document it in their notes," says Dr. Knowles.
Patients can also make sure everything in their medical record is up to date. Maybe you've changed medications or gotten a flu shot but it's not reflected in your record yet. You can let your doctor's office know so the new info can be entered quickly.
"As a patient, you have expectations about your care. Let your doctor know what those expectations are so we can meet them."
Communication is key
Current technology also lets you message your physician directly, which is efficient and helpful for both sides. You can request prescription refills, clarify your doctor's instructions, and ask questions about test results.
But Dr. Knowles warns that it shouldn't be a replacement for in-person visits.
"Any new problems or issues should always be addressed in a face-to-face visit. Dialogue and a thorough exam are essential for making a correct diagnosis."
Communication is the key. "As a patient, you have expectations about your care," she adds. "Let your doctor know what those expectations are so we can meet them."
"Any new problems or issues should always be addressed in a face-to-face visit."
Accessing your doctor's notes
"Communication is the key."
Using My CS-Link, you can communicate with your doctor, book and request appointments, view your bills and lab results, access medical records, and see physician notes using the OpenNotes feature.
If you don't already have a My CS-Link account, go to mycslink.org and click I need access for myself under the New User Signup section. Sign up today and start taking charge of your health.