Empowering Health Care Consumers

Project Title

Supporting NYHealth OpenNotes Grantees

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers

Date Awarded

October 1, 2019


Outside New York State






True consumer empowerment begins when patients have access to the information they need to talk to their health care providers, share information, and develop a trusted relationship.

By giving patients access to the visit notes written by their doctors, nurses, or other clinicians, OpenNotes is an important step in achieving the goal of consumers being active participants in their own care. Since 2016, NYHealth has supported efforts to expand OpenNotes throughout the State, including at geographically dispersed hospital systems. Building upon this momentum, NYHealth issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), Growing OpenNotes Across New York State, to support OpenNotes in federally qualified health centers, multispecialty group practices, hospital-affiliated physician groups, independent physician practices, and other non-hospital health care settings. Through this RFP, NYHealth is supporting six New York State organizations to participate in this initiative. In 2019, NYHealth awarded a grant to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where the national OpenNotes program office is based, to provide technical assistance to the six organizations as they undertake their projects.

Under this grant, OpenNotes staff provided technical assistance to help this cohort of grantees implement OpenNotes at their facilities. Specifically, OpenNotes staff organized quarterly meetings for the grantees, focusing on the basics of implementation, best practices, and data tracking and documentation. OpenNotes staff provided additional consultation services to grantees, based on their specific needs and questions. To improve implementation, OpenNotes staff assisted grantees in (1) developing communications strategies to encourage patients to access and read their notes, (2) making patient portals easier for patients to find and open their notes, and (3) measuring the rate of notes viewed by patients. Additionally, best practices were shared with grantees on incorporating mental health and adolescent health information into shared notes for patients. Finally, OpenNotes staff synthesized lessons learned from this project to create recommendations and best practices for implementing OpenNotes at other non-hospital health care settings in New York State and nationally.