A study by researchers at the University of Washington saysphysician fears about potential misunderstandings of the recordsthat could lead to disputes and, even worse, malpracticelitigation, are behind their reluctance to offer full access totheir patients.

Basically, the study found, doctors don’t think patients canhandle the truth as captured in their medical records.

“I think the default should be for patients to have completeaccess to their electronic medical records,and the benefits would likely greatly outweigh any harm," said leadauthor Dr. Bryan Lee of Altos Eye Physicians in Los Altos,California, also a professor at the University of Washington inSeattle.

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Dan Cook

Dan Cook is a journalist and communications consultant based in Portland, OR. During his journalism career he has been a reporter and editor for a variety of media companies, including American Lawyer Media, BusinessWeek, Newhouse Newspapers, Knight-Ridder, Time Inc., and Reuters. He specializes in health care and insurance related coverage for BenefitsPRO.