Area residents now have fast, secure online access to the office-visit notes written by their health care providers through a collaboration between UR Medicine and Rochester Regional Health.
The health systems are sharing visit notes with their patients, bringing the national OpenNotes movement to the region. Research shows that patients achieve better health outcomes when they have access to visit-note sharing by helping them recall the details of individual visits, sharing notes with caregivers that could not attend an appointment, and gaining a better understanding of their health and medical conditions.
UR Medicine shares ambulatory visit notes from nearly all of its 300-plus outpatient clinics and primary care practices, including notes from adult- and pediatric-patient visits. At RRH, the majority of visit notes are shared by its primary care practices. Certain specialty practices have note-sharing capabilities.
Both institutions continue to grant individual patient requests for their medical records, including visit notes.
After an appointment, a patient will receive an email letting them know that a note is available for viewing. Patients must have an electronic medical record account at either health system, as well as an active MyChart or MyCare patient portal account in order to view their notes.
“UR Medicine and Rochester Regional Health are working together to allow patients to engage in their health care in an open and positive way, and to encourage dialogue in their care,” said Michael Rotondo, CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group. “UR Medicine is launching the sharing of visit notes because of its great potential to improve patient outcomes, and to include patients as partners in their own medical care through enhanced communication and an even stronger provider-patient relationship. We greatly appreciate that our providers are participating in this effort.”
“Rochester Regional Health began the OpenNotes project two years ago as a way to enhance patient engagement, strengthen relationships with patients and enable patients to better understand their treatment goals — especially for patients with complex medical issues,” said Bridgette Wiefling, senior vice president, Primary Care and Ambulatory Specialty Institute, Rochester Regional Health. ”When patients are full partners in their care, everybody wins.”
“We are excited about UR Medicine and Rochester Regional Health teaming up to bring the OpenNotes movement to the Rochester region,” said John Santa, director of dissemination at OpenNotes. “Rochester now will be the first to implement OpenNotes communitywide in New York state.”
UR Medicine started a voluntary note-sharing pilot in January 2018 at most primary care and specialty practices. RRH piloted note sharing at primary care practices and some specialty practices at Rochester General Hospital since September 2018.
“True consumer empowerment begins when patients can actively participate in their own care, and that requires easy and complete access to their own visit notes,” said David Sandman, president and CEO of the New York State Health Foundation. “OpenNotes literally and figuratively puts patients and their providers on the same page to improve the care experience and outcomes. Through this collaborative partnership, UR Medicine and Rochester Regional Health are leading the way in making OpenNotes a standard of care in New York state.”
Local implementation of OpenNotes is led by James Sutton, director of the office of community medicine at RRH, and Lauren Bruckner, medical director of patient engagement at UR Medicine. RRH and UR Medicine were among 10 hospital systems in the state that received grant funding from NYSHealth to support an OpenNotes implementation. Through the OpenNotes movement, more than 33 million U.S. patients at more than 180 health systems have access to their visit notes.