November 16, 2021

On November 16, 2021, NYHealth, OpenNotes, and other partners hosted a webinar featuring leading New York State health systems and patients who have successfully adopted and used open notes.

The 21st Century Cures Act, a federal law that supports patients’ access to their medical records, recently went into effect. The law’s Information Blocking Rule requires health care systems to share clinical notes (often referred to as open notes) with patients, free of charge. Although a growing number of health systems have been implementing and sharing open notes with patients over time, the groundbreaking 21st Century Cures Act will accelerate open notes even further.

Most hospitals and health systems are complying with the law to some extent. However, the level of compliance and, most importantly, the proactive use of open notes to improve care varies. For some, note-sharing is embedded into their practice, and they are ready to expand the types of notes and information they share and to test out innovative ways to meaningfully engage patients. For others, note-sharing is new territory, and they can benefit from adapting proven tools to their own settings and learning best practices from more experienced hospitals.

The webinar highlighted lessons learned from organizations implementing open notes prior to the new federal mandate. Panelists also shared best practices and strategies for engaging patients and making note-sharing easier and more productive, including with non-English speakers, as well as sharing notes in the context of adolescent, pediatric, inpatient, and behavioral health settings. A new NYHealth funding opportunity to support hospitals in implementing and sharing open notes was also highlighted. Panelists and presentations were:

Welcoming Remarks: Avital Havusha, Vice President, Programs, New York Health Foundation (NYHealth).

Overviews of OpenNotes and the Information Blocking Rule: Cait DesRoches, Executive Director, OpenNotes, (Presentation begins at 2:57 in recording). View presentation slides.

Open Notes Progress in New York: Avital Havusha, Vice President, Programs, NYHealth. (Presentation begins at 26:30 in recording).

Patient Perspectives on Open Notes: Stacey Whiteman, Patient Advisor, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (Presentation begins at 33:34 in recording).

New York Hospital Experience Implementing Open Notes: Lauren Bruckner, MD, PhD, CMIO, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, (Presentation begins at 53:20 in recording). View presentation slides.

Best Practices for Engaging Vulnerable Patient Populations in Open Notes: Nandini Shroff, MPH, Research Committee Administrator and Grants Manager, The Institute for Family Health,, and Dr. Ruth Lesnewski, Beth Israel Residency Program in Urban Family Practice, Clinical Director, MyChart MyHealth, The Institute for Family Health. (Presentation begins at 1:15:04 in recording). View presentation slides.

NYHealth Funding and Learning Network Opportunity: Avital Havusha; Cait DesRoches; and Deb Wachenheim, Assistant Director, Dissemination, OpenNotes, (Presentation begins at 1:44:31). View presentation slides.

Programmatic questions about this funding opportunity should be e-mailed to

Watch the webinar recording here.

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