Empowering Health Care Consumers

Project Title

OpenNotes Rochester Initiative

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers

Date Awarded

October 9, 2017


Finger Lakes





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.

OpenNotes is a national movement that spurs real patient engagement by giving patients and their caregivers access to the clinical notes written by health care providers. When patients have such access, they can develop stronger relationships with their providers; initiate conversations about or co-develop their care plan; develop a sense of ownership over their health information and treatment decisions; better remember what was discussed during a visit; become patient-safety partners by identifying errors in their records; and take medications as prescribed. To foster the spread of OpenNotes to more New York State hospitals and patients, NYHealth issued a request for proposals, Spreading OpenNotes in New York State. Through this initiative, NYHealth is supporting hospitals across the State in implementing OpenNotes at their facilities. In 2017, NYHealth awarded Rochester Regional Health (RRH) a grant to participate in this initiative.

Under this grant, RRH launched a community-wide OpenNotes Rochester initiative. RRH represents five hospitals in Monroe County: Rochester General Hospital, Unity Hospital, Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, United Memorial Medical Center, and Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic. RRH has previously piloted and implemented OpenNotes at two ambulatory practices. Through this grant, RRH implemented a system-wide launch of OpenNotes. It engaged in robust, extensive internal and external outreach with both providers and patients, including developing a communications toolkit and informational video and widely sharing patient stories of their experiences using OpenNotes.

RRH partnered with fellow grantee University of Rochester Medical Center on OpenNotes Rochester to share best practices for implementing OpenNotes and encourage other health care providers in Monroe County to adopt the initiative. Through this collaborative effort, these two integrated health systems launched OpenNotes for its providers and gave patients access to their clinical notes. URMC and RRH also engaged additional medical providers by working with the Monroe County Medical Society, which represents nearly 600 providers.

See a full list of Spreading OpenNotes in New York State grantees.