The authors studied the effects of patient access to medical records
during hospitalization in a psychiatric unit of a community general
hospital. Questionnaires were completed by about 20 staff and 88 patients,
and records were compared with those from an earlier period to note any
changes in the written record. Patients reported feeling better informed
and more involved in their treatment, and staff said that they became more
thoughtful about their notes in the chart. The availability of staff seems
crucial to this process and facilitates the working alliance.