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Patient Frequently Asked Questions

What are doctor's notes?

Your health care provider takes notes during and after your appointment or hospital stay to keep track and document a variety of health-related issues. With doctor's notes (via MyAtriumHealth) you can access these notes online to gain a better understanding of your health and medical condition.

What is a note?

When you see a provider for an appointment or hospital stay, you may notice him or her taking notes during the visit. After the visit (or a discussion with you), the provider composes a note summarizing the most important information. This becomes a part of your medical record. You can read these notes in your MyAtriumHealth account.

The note may contain:

  • A summary of what you told the provider, also called the “history” or “history of present illness.”
  • The findings from a physical exam, such as your blood pressure or how your lungs sound.
  • Lab, radiology or other results that help the doctor assess your condition.
  • The provider’s assessment or diagnosis of any medical conditions or symptoms – also called “assessment” or “impressions.”
  • The treatment plan the provider recommends.
  • Next steps, such as additional tests, studies, follow-up appointments or referrals to a specialist.

How can I get the most out of my notes?

  • When your note is available after your visit, read it to review what you discussed with your health care team, your treatment plan, any changes to your medications, and any follow-up tests or appointments you need to schedule or attend.
  • If there are terms you don’t understand, look them up, or ask your practice for reliable websites or other resources to learn more about your medical conditions.
  • Between visits you can review your treatment plan to make sure you follow up on procedures, tests or appointments.
  • You may choose to share notes with your family members or others involved in your care and discuss how you are going to work together to carry out your plans.
  • In preparation for your next visit, review your notes to remember what you discussed with your healthcare provider at your last appointment. Think about any steps you have taken since your last visit and any changes or new problems you may be experiencing since then. Then prepare a list of questions to review with your doctor at the appointment.

What are the benefits of reading notes?

Patients who read their notes report benefits such as:

  • A better understanding of their health and medical conditions.
  • Improved recall of their care plan.
  • Feeling more in control of their care.
  • Finding it easier to take medications as prescribed.

I can’t see a specific note I expected to see. Why?

Possible reasons include:

  • Notes written prior to September 1, 2015 are not visible in MyAtriumHealth.
  • When a provider writes and signs the note electronically, the note will be available. Notes may not be written with every encounter.
  • Your provider may have chosen not to share a particular note due to sensitive, confidential information. If you have questions, we encourage you to talk with your provider's office to make sure you understand the reasons for not making your note available.
  • As Atrium Health adopts a new electronic health record, your notes may appear in a different place within MyAtriumHealth. Check under Visits if the note is not where you expect.
  • Remember, you still have complete access to your entire health record by contacting Atrium Health’s Health (http://www.atriumhealth.org/medical-records).

If you have further questions, please contact your provider’s office.

What if I have questions about information in the note?

Please keep in mind that the note is part of your medical record. Doctors and other clinicians use the note to manage your individual circumstances and to communicate efficiently with others involved in your care. You may find the note difficult to read because it includes unfamiliar abbreviations or terms. Here is a list of common abbreviations to help you better understand medical terms or diagnoses (https://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/techbull/mj09/mj09_med_words.html).

How can I send a message to my doctor?

  • Log in to MyAtriumHealth and send your provider a secure message by choosing Health Messages. You can ask questions there.
  • Do NOT use regular e-mail to communicate with your care team about concerns that need immediate attention. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. If you have an urgent question or concern, call your provider's office or go to the nearest emergency room.

I’m concerned about privacy. Who else has access to my notes? Can my clinician share this record with others without telling me?

There is no change regarding who has access to your notes. Those involved in your care already have access to this information. Doctors and other clinicians operate under strict confidentiality rules. If you have granted proxy access to another person (for example, a parent or a spouse), they may be able to read your notes.

To help support your privacy, please keep in mind:

  • Always keep your MyAtriumHealth login name and password private.
  • Enable two-step verification from your Settings menu for additional protection.
  • Wherever you look at your account, always exit by selecting “Log out” when you are done. 

Will I have access to my children's doctor's notes?

Parents with proxy access to children under the age of 13 will be able to view their children's notes. You may request proxy access by submitting the Request Family Access form in MyAtriumHealth.

How do I get started?

Log in to your MyAtriumHealth account, or create one if you have not already.  The same features are also available in the MyAtriumHealth mobile app for iOS and Android devices. 

On the side bar, you can also access your health summary, lab and test results, patient education materials, prescriptions, list of procedures performed, visit summaries and radiology reports.

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