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The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age by Robert Wachter

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Chapter 21Personal Health Records and Patient Portals

When we try to pick out anything by itself we find that it is bound fast by a thousand invisible cords that cannot be broken, to everything in the universe.

—John Muir, in 1869

OpenNotes is just one slice of a broader phenomenon enabled by healthcare IT: the patient portal. Mark Smith, the former CEO of the California HealthCare Foundation and a leading thinker in health policy, believes that patient portals are on the cusp of going viral, in large part because of consumer demand. Smith, who receives his own healthcare from the huge Kaiser Permanente system, remembers Kaiser’s early portal, which was clunky and downright user-hostile. Today, it’s pretty slick, nearly at the level of the customer ...

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