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 Medical Center (URMC) a grant to participate in this initiative.

Under this grant, URMC launched a community-wide OpenNotes Rochester initiative. URMC represents three hospitals in Monroe County: Highland Hospital, Strong Memorial Hospital, and Golisano Children’s Hospital. In addition to using the program with its general patient population, URMC also promoted and advanced OpenNotes among a vulnerable and underserved population of patients with sickle cell disease. It recruited patients with sickle cell disease with the goals of improving patient engagement and satisfaction and reducing unnecessary emergency department use and hospital admissions.

URMC partnered with fellow grantee Rochester Regional Health on OpenNotes Rochester to share best practices for implementing OpenNotes and encourage other health care providers throughout Monroe County to adopt the initiative. Through this collaborative effort, these two integrated health systems launched OpenNotes for 2,650 providers and gave more than 800,000 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.