Increasing Open Notes Utilization by Underserved Primary-Dental Patients in Saratoga County
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 Saratoga Community Health Center (Saratoga CHC) a grant to participate in this initiative.
Saratoga CHC is part of a hospital-affiliated, multi-specialty physician practice, Saratoga Hospital Medical Group in Saratoga Springs and the Capital Region. It provides primary care and dental services to approximately 7,000 patients annually. It is the only community health center in the region, providing care regardless of patients’ insurance status or ability to pay. Under this grant, Saratoga CHC will continue to implement and improve the use of shared notes within its system and participate in a technical assistance and peer-learning network. Saratoga CHC will conduct patient education, outreach, and navigation to increase use of shared notes and install kiosks for patients to access notes on-site. It will also seek patient feedback, develop patient-centered note-sharing workflows, and upgrade its patient portal to integrate medical and dental patient visit notes.