Providing mental health care in teh context of online mental health notes: advice from patients and mental health clinicians.

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Publication Date



Maine Behavioral Health

Journal Title

Journal of Mental Health

MeSH Headings

Mental Health Services; Medical Informatics; Patient Portals; Psychiatric Patients Psychosocial Factors; Psychiatrists Psychosocial Factors; Access to Information; Semi-Structured Interview; Communication; Professional-Patient Relations; Mental Health; Human


Background: The OpenNotes initiative provides patients online access to their clinical notes. Mental health clinicians in the Veterans Health Administration report a need for guidance on how to provide care, write notes, and discuss them in the context of OpenNotes. Aim: To provide mental health clinicians recommendations identified by patients and clinicians that help them effectively practice in the context of OpenNotes. Method: Twenty-eight mental health clinicians and 28 patients in mental health care participated in semi-structured interviews about their experiences and perceptions with OpenNotes. A rapid review approach was used to analyze transcripts. Results: Analysis of interviews identified three domains of advice for mental health clinicians: writing notes that maintain the therapeutic relationship, communicating with patients about their notes and utilizing clinical notes as a patient resource to enhance care. Specific recommendations are provided. Conclusion: Findings provide mental health clinicians with guidance from service users and clinicians on how to leverage clinical notes to maintain - and potentially enhance -therapeutic relationships in a healthcare system in which patients are able to read their mental health notes online.

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