Patient Visit Notes Improvement Project
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 St. John’s Medical Group a grant to participate in this initiative.
St. John’s is a hospital-affiliated physician network in the Rockaways and the Five Towns in Nassau County that provides comprehensive primary, pediatric, mental health, specialty, and wellness care to approximately 17,000 patients at multiple outpatient locations. With this grant, St. John’s will continue to implement and improve the use of shared notes within its system, particularly its pediatric and mental health practices, and participate in a technical assistance and peer-learning network. St. John’s will enhance the sharing and usability of notes through provider training on writing patient-friendly notes and the creation of new note-sharing workflows. It will also conduct patient education and outreach, including marketing campaigns and in-person workshops.