Health AWARE - Open Notes for Underserved Populations
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.
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. In 2022, NYHealth issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), “From Good to Great: Improving Access to and Use of Patient Visit Notes in Non-Hospital Systems,” to support non-hospital systems across New York State in sharing open notes in compliance with recent federal rules and using open notes to more meaningfully engage patients. In 2023, NYHealth awarded Mosaic Health a grant to participate in this initiative.
Mosaic Health is a federally qualified health center that serves Western New York, Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and Mohawk Valley; it offers comprehensive primary, dental, and behavioral health care to approximately 103,000 patients across 16 primary care clinics, 3 dental clinics, and 5 school-based health centers. Under this grant, Mosaic will continue to implement and improve the use of shared notes within its system and participate in a technical assistance and peer-learning network. Mosaic will enhance the sharing and usability of notes through provider training, with an emphasis on writing patient-friendly notes. With a focus on improving note-sharing with its patient population, including refugees and rural residents, it will create patient education materials in multiple languages, conduct outreach and navigation, and install kiosks for patients to access notes on-site. It will also seek patient feedback on these patient engagement and provider training efforts.