Patient Data Access News

Mount Sinai Adopts OpenNotes to Expand Patient Data Access

Mount Sinai will be the first healthcare organization in New York City to launch OpenNotes, helping to expand patient data access in NYC.

By Sara Heath

The OpenNotes initiative, which allows greater patient data access, has expanded to Mount Sinai Health System, according to a public statement.


Launching the program at their New York City-based Primary Care Associates of the Mount Sinai Doctors Faculty Practice offices, the healthcare organization has become the first in the city to provide patients with electronic access to their doctors’ notes.

The health system’s participation in OpenNotes will ideally improve patient engagement and patient empowerment by encouraging patients to become more involved in their healthcare.

“When patients can access their physicians’ notes, they can better understand their medical issues and treatment plan as active partners in their care,” says Sandra Myerson, System Chief Patient Experience Officer, Joseph F. Cullman, Jr. Institute for Patient Experience, Mount Sinai Health System.

“This can ultimately lead to improved patient engagement, patient empowerment, and communication between patient and physician.”

This OpenNotes launch has been in the making since the end of last year. In December 2015, four Mount Sinai doctors engaged in a pilot program testing the initiative to determine how it would affect clinical workflow.

Those patients involved in the pilot program reported high rates of patient satisfaction, claiming that access to their doctor’s notes helped them feel more empowered in their own care. By looking at physician notes, patients were better able to piece together their health histories and understand their wellness.

Mount Sinai executives say that those feelings of engagement and empowerment are a basic patient right.

"Patients expect and deserve to have full access to their medical records and the Mount Sinai Health System is committed to meeting this expectation," said Jeremy Boal, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Mount Sinai.

Mount Sinai will make the physician notes available through the health system’s patient portal, MyMountSinaiChart, allowing users to view their health information via desktop, laptop, tablet, or smart phone.

OpenNotes has seen enormous growth as of late. At the end of last year, the initiative received $10 million in grant money from various different donors. Through these endowments, the initiative expects to grow to reach nearly 50 million users nationwide, helping to boost care quality.

“Our research shows increasingly that patients can benefit greatly from reading the notes taken during a medical visit. They tell us they feel more in control of their care and are more likely to follow up on recommendations,” said OpenNotes’ co-founder Jan Walker, RN, MBA.

“This has enormous implications for improving the quality and costs of care. Moreover, we’re learning that having a second set of eyes on the record may be an important way to improve patient safety.”

OpenNotes also entered into a partnership with the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) to boost patient data access in light of the President’s Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI).

PMI heavily relies on patient-contributed data in order to conduct better research to develop better and more specific treatment plans. By allowing patients access to their health data, they not only become more empowered in their own care, but they get the chance to contribute their information to better the healthcare industry at large.

“Patient engagement is a big part of that movement, but to be true partners in their care, patients must have access not only to their basic health records, but the notes that clinicians make during appointments,” said OpenNotes’ co-founder Jan Walker, RN, MBA. “This partnership with OpenNotes is a terrific opportunity to promote innovative change in medical practice designed to increase patient engagement.”


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