Supporting NYHealth OpenNotes Grantees, Phase 4
Empowering Health Care Consumers
April 26, 2023
Shared visit notes, often referred to as open notes, are an important way to help consumers become active participants in their own care.
Established in 2010, OpenNotes is a national effort to give patients access to the visit notes written by their doctors, nurses, or other clinicians. Shared visit notes, often referred to as open notes, are an important way to help consumers become active participants in their own care. When patients have access to their own visit notes written by health care providers, they better remember and act on information discussed during visits, improve communication with their health care team, and better manage their health. The 21st Century Cures Act, a recent federal mandate, requires health care providers to make clinical notes available to patients electronically and at no charge. However, the level of compliance and, most importantly, the proactive use of open notes to improve care vary among health systems.
NYHealth has long supported the spread of open notes throughout New York State. In tandem, NYHealth has awarded grants to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where the national OpenNotes program office is based, in 2019, 2021, and 2022 to help cohorts of NYHealth grantees implement their open notes projects. In 2023, NYHealth awarded a grant to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to support 14 non-hospital systems as they undertake projects to share open notes in compliance with recent federal rules and use open notes to more meaningfully engage patients.
Under this grant, OpenNotes leadership at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center will provide technical assistance to help this cohort of grantees implement and expand open notes at their health systems. Specifically, OpenNotes staff will lead a 12-month technical assistance and learning network, which includes monthly group sessions and access to individual support from the OpenNotes team. Systems will learn from experts and each other, focusing on strategies to ensure that (1) providers are equipped with the tools to make note-sharing easy and useful; and (2) patients know how to access and use their visit notes productively. This technical assistance and learning network will cover a range of topics, including the new federal mandate; effective communication strategies to introduce open notes to both providers and patients; patient-friendly note-writing and note translation; and note-sharing for adolescent, pediatric, and behavioral health, among other areas.