Rochester Regional Health First in the Area to Introduce OpenNotes

January 13, 2016

Rochester Regional Health has kicked off OpenNotes, a national initiative started in 2010 that is working to give patients ready access to all visit notes written by doctors, nurses and other clinicians.

“OpenNotes is a natural progression of our current secure online patient portals,” said Balazs Zsenits, MD, associate chief medical officer, Medical Informatics, Rochester Regional Health. “This pilot program is following in the footsteps of other nationally renowned health systems that have embraced this depth of patient service and communication to improve care, including Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, and Geisinger Health System.”

Patients who may have missed or forgotten what was said or prescribed during a health care visit – due to stress, distraction, or just not feeling well – can now revisit their provider’s notes via Rochester Regional’s secure MyCare portal. This marks the first OpenNotes launch in the Greater Rochester region, delivering convenient, around-the-clock access to provider notes, instructions, next steps, prescriptions, and test orders.

“Patients feel more engaged in their health care when they have stronger communication with their providers,” said Chief Quality and Innovation Officer Bridgette Wiefling, MD. “The transparency offered by OpenNotes breaks down artificial barriers that keep patients from truly understanding and managing their own care.”

A national study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation tested the OpenNotes concept with 105 primary care physicians and more than 13,000 patients over a year-long voluntary program. Patients who used OpenNotes reported remembering more details after provider visits, feeling more in control of their care, having better communication with their provider, and taking medications more effectively.

The pilot includes two Rochester Regional Health primary care practices – Northridge Medical Group in Rochester and Internal Medicine Associates of Webster. Rochester Regional anticipates additional primary care offices will join in the coming months.