Open Mental Health Notes Empower Patients

Open Mental Health Notes Empower Patients


My name is Stacey and I have two great kids I have a fiancé who has three kids. About a year and a half ago, I was diagnosed with MS and that has been quite the challenge for us. I get up every day and I fight the fight. You know? I have MS in my brain and in my spine, so cognitively I’m challenged. I do physical therapy three times a week, and every 28 days I have infusion at Beth Israel. Tisabre is the infusion that I have. My symptoms will always be here, the infusions slow down the progression of it. Stacy was referred to me by a neuropsychologist who identified some
problems with mood and referred her to me. Stacey has so many strengths but beyond the strengths, she has had a history of some problems with depression and anxiety and I think that the issues with
multiple sclerosis have also really eroded her self-esteem. It’s been hard that I’m not the person that I used to be that I can’t multitask anymore. As we say, I may look ok on the outside but on the inside, it’s kind of challenging, to say the least. I’m on PatientSite all the time. just because of my records, my appointments, and now not only can I go in there and read letters from my primary care physician I can actually go into OpenNotes and
read my therapy notes. When OpenNotes was first presented as an option for mental health
clinicians, I a little bit rolled my eyes and thought, how can we add one more layer of complexity onto the work that we already do? But the more I heard about it, the more
intrigued I was to think about how to integrate it into my
practice. The second session that we had she said to me, “What do you think about the idea of putting our therapy notes into PatientSite?” I said, “Oh my God, I love that.” She goes, “Why?” I go, “Because in my world I forget.” One of the things you had said last time and when I read my OpenNotes today was you had asked a question about what is
it that I want. For me I go back to my OpenNotes all the
time. I need to remember, what is it that we
talked about? What is it that we are going to talk about at the next session? And I think it’s so much better than calling the basement of the hospital and getting
your medical records and, you know you are going to have to send 20 bucks, and it’s going to take 3 to 5 weeks to get it. Okay, that’s not helpful at all. OpenNotes is online now, and you have access to it very quickly, which can only, for me, make my life a lot easier. But I’m not gonna lie to you, reading it it’s a hard read, some of it, for me to sit there and review what Lissa and I talked about and for me to go to that place of, “Gosh, I can’t believe I’m that person.” You know? But, I don’t let it get me down and I say I am that person and she’s going to help me get through these obstacles. You talked about the sense that you weren’t in the driver’s seat. Right. So how we get you back into the driver’s
seat? I think the notes are very much a part of the therapy I think it really makes the therapy more alive. I think that was the boost to
get me out and seeing people. It also, for Stacy, allows her to do some of the work that we agreed upon between sessions and it might be starting to exercise a little bit, a little bit more self-care, thinking about ways to interact with her children setting some limits in
relationships around what she agrees to do. So, I think that, that for her the notes
are just terrific reminders. The other thing I like about OpenNotes, especially for the therapy piece is I have one doctor that is not
affiliated with Beth Israel and he regulates my medicine. She showed the notes to her psychopharmacology and they have used the OpenNotes to think about how to make any changes in her medication for
depression, anxiety, sleep. If I have a session with Lissa the nice thing is I grab it, I PDF it and I can email it to him and I am like, “just an FYI, just so you know where my anxiety level is, just so you know where the stress level is, you now? Is this medication working? I use it as such a tool for my
everyday life now and it works. It works for me. It’s going to be very interesting for me
to compare my OpenNotes today versus a year from now. How far have I come with Lissa? Wow! That was really a tough time for me and I did overcome it. When I’m reading it in OpenNotes it’s an even better accomplishment for me. You now? Wow, I really did overcome that hurdle. And, you know what, and that’s just going to keep me going. You know?

Daniel Yohans

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