Empowering Health Care Consumers
April 4, 2022
Through its Empowering Health Care Consumers priority area, NYHealth promotes greater information transparency and supports patients to engage as partners in health care delivery and policymaking.
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. When patients have access to their own visit notes written by health care providers, they better remember what was discussed during the visit; feel more in control of their care; are more likely to take medications as prescribed; and can share notes with their caregivers.
The 21st Century Cures Act, which went into effect last year, includes a federal mandate that requires health care providers that maintain electronic medical records 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 varies among hospitals and health systems.
NYHealth has long supported the spread of open notes throughout New York State, including at 10 hospital systems and 6 federally qualified health centers and other non-hospital settings across the State. In 2021, NYHealth issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), “Good to Great: Improving Access to and Use of Patient Visit Notes,” to support hospital facilities in New York State in complying with the new federal rules and in going beyond compliance to use open notes to more meaningfully engage patients. Through this RFP, NYHealth—in partnership with the OpenNotes national program office—is providing 16 hospitals with funding, technical assistance, and peer-learning opportunities to implement and share open notes effectively.
Grant recipients are:
- Mount Sinai Health System
- New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (representing 11 hospital facilities)
- Rochester Regional Health Foundation
- State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University
- State University of New York Health Science Center at Syracuse
- Wyckoff Heights Medical Center
NYHealth also awarded a grant to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where the national OpenNotes program office is based, to provide technical assistance to the 16 hospitals as they undertake their projects.