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YNHHS to launch feature that helps patients access care providers notes

Yale New Haven Health System is launching a pilot program with OpenNotes, a national movement aimed at providing patients real-time, secure access to their physicians' and care providers' notes in their electronic health record.

"More than 10 million patients nationally are already participating in OpenNotes," said Lisa Stump, chief information officer, YNHHS. "We see this as an important step in our patient engagement strategy."

Some physicians at Yale New Haven Hospital's Spine Center, Northeast Medical Group, Yale Health and Yale Medicine have volunteered to initiate OpenNotes beginning in the spring. Patients of these physicians will be able to sign in to the MyChart patient portal and access their provider's notes at the conclusion of their office visits. At the beginning of the OpenNotes launch, only notes from physician office visits – those covering the patient's conditions and treatments – will be available. Other notes, such as procedure notes or hospital discharge summary notes, will not be available during this phase of the project.

Stump noted that all patients have a right to request their full medical record, including providers' notes, from YNHHS' Health Information Management department. OpenNotes will allow patients to access their notes almost immediately, using a desktop computer, tablet or smart phone.

"By making providers' notes more accessible, we are making it easier for patients to remember what was said during their visits and become more involved in their care and health decision-making," said Tim Cooney, director of Web Services, YNHHS Information Technology Services. "The ultimate goals are to support patients' health and provide a better patient experience."