The bone-thinning disease called osteoporosis is a big problem for women past menopause. It causes painful spine fractures and broken hips that plunge many women into a final downward spiral.
So it seemed to make sense to monitor older women's bones on a regular basis to see when they need to start taking drugs that prevent bone loss and fractures. Since Medicare will pay for a bone-density scan every two years, that's what many women have been getting.
If patients and doctors both have easy access to the notes the doctor takes during their office visits, will it change their behavior?
That's a question that an experiment called OpenNotes aims to answer by letting patients of more than 100 primary care doctors in three states see the notes online.
In December, researchers reported the results of surveys taken before the project started in 2010 in which patients and physicians were asked about their attitudes toward making such information available.