UR Medicine, ROC Regional Health team up to offer online access to doctor visit notes

UR Medicine and Rochester Regional Health are teaming up to make health care more efficient and transparent for patients in the region. (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. - UR Medicine and Rochester Regional Health are teaming up to make health care more efficient and transparent for patients in the region.

As part of the OpenNotes movement, the two health systems on Thursday announced a system where patients will be able to access their health care providers' notes from the visit online.

UR Medicine and ROC Regional Health outlined the sharing of certain office-visit notes:

  • UR Medicine will share ambulatory visit notes from nearly all of its more than 300 outpatient clinics and primary-care practices, including notes from adult- and pediatric-patient visits.
  • At Rochester Regional Health, the majority of visit notes will be shared by its primary care practices. Certain specialty practices will also have note-sharing capabilities.
  • Both institutions will continue to grant individual patient requests for their medical records, including visit notes.

This move to more transparency allows patients to better recall the details of their visits, and allows caregivers who were unable to attend appointment better access to information.

James Sutton, director of the office of community medicine at Rochester Regional Health, and Lauren Bruckner, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of patient engagement at UR Medicine spearheaded the OpenNotes movement locally. The two health systems said they were among 10 hospital systems in NYS that received funding from the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) to support an OpenNotes implementation.

Some practices in each hospital system has been testing note-sharing as the organizations moved toward this community-wide effort.

John Santa, M.D., MPH, director of dissemination at OpenNotes, said Rochester will be the first to implement OpenNotes community wide in the state.

“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 A. Wiefling, M.D., senior vice president, Primary Care and Ambulatory Specialty Institute, Rochester Regional Health. ”When patients are full partners in their care, everybody wins.”

After appointments, patients will get an email alerting them they have a note that's available to see.

To view the visit notes, patients must have an electronic medical record account at either UR Medicine or ROC Regional Health. Patients will need an active MyChart or MyCare patient portal account in order to view their notes as well.

The visit notes can be viewed from a web browser, but not the mobile apps, according to the two health systems.

For more information on the OpenNotes movement, click here.

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