The Institute for Family Health OpenNotes Implementation
Empowering Health Care Consumers
October 1, 2019
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 (FQHCs), multispecialty group practices, hospital-affiliated physician groups, independent physician practices, and other non-hospital health care settings. Through this RFP, NYHealth aims to spread OpenNotes to all settings in which patients receive care, especially in underserved communities. In 2019, NYHealth awarded Institute for Family Health (IFH) a grant to participate in this initiative.
Under this grant, IFH, one of the largest FQHC networks in New York State, implemented OpenNotes across its 30 health centers and shared notes with patients receiving primary care, mental health, dental care, and social support services. IFH employed an opt-out model with providers, so that notes are shared by default. IFH also trained providers on how to write patient-centered notes. Patients are able to access notes through an online patient portal and have the option to request a printed copy of their visit notes at the front desks of each health center. IFH developed training curriculums for different departments within its system, including webinars, best practices, case study discussions, and peer reviews of existing notes. To better engage patients, IFH solicited input about OpenNotes through patient focus groups.
See a full list of grantees working to grow OpenNotes in non-hospital settings across New York State.