Empowering Health Care Consumers
October 1, 2019
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.
By giving patients access to the visit notes written by their doctors, nurses, or other clinicians, OpenNotes is an important step in achieving the goal of consumers being active participants in their own care. Since 2016, NYSHealth has supported efforts to expand OpenNotes throughout the State, including at geographically dispersed hospital systems. Building upon this momentum, NYSHealth issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), Growing OpenNotes Across New York State, to support OpenNotes in federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), multispecialty group practices, hospital-affiliated physician groups, independent physician practices, and other non-hospital health care settings. Through this RFP, NYSHealth aims to spread OpenNotes to all settings in which patients receive care, especially in underserved communities. In 2019, NYSHealth awarded Upstate Family Health Center (UFHC) a grant to participate in this initiative.
Under this grant, UFHC will implement OpenNotes at its FQHC sites in variation locations throughout the Mohawk Valley region. UFHC will expand its patient portal capabilities to give patients access to their notes. It will then engage providers, other staff members, and patients on how to use the patient portal. UFHC will work with ScribeEMR, a virtual scribe service, to help providers create visit notes in a more consistent, timely manner and include information that is important to patients. Clinical notes will be made available to patients through both the online patient portal and printed copies in various languages. UFHC will dedicate a private space in lobby areas for printing or viewing notes and medication lists. As UFHC serves a significant refugee population, it also will work with multiple interpretation companies to translate notes into a patient’s preferred language, including Spanish, Bosnian, Burmese, Russian, and Somali.
See a full list of grantees working to grow OpenNotes in non-hospital settings across New York State.