This toolkit offers suggestions and materials for communicating with patients and clinicians about open notes. The goal is to help increase awareness and utilization of open notes.
We encourage hospitals, health systems, and individual clinics to use the OpenNotes logo in your communication and outreach materials. It can help patients find their notes more easily and demonstrates your commitment to partnering with patients in their care. The logo can be used free of charge and is available in purple and white. Logo proportions must be retained.
Send us a message to start the logo request process. Please include the name of your organization and how you intend to use the logo.
Other organizations must go through a special logo vetting process. Send us a message about how and why you would like to use the OpenNotes logo.
OpenNotes vs. open notes
We encourage health systems to also include language on your portal pages that help patients understand what open notes are and where to find them. Here is some boilerplate language you might consider using:
"OpenNotes provides research and education about transparency in health care, especially when it comes to open notes. Sharing your open notes with you is a federally mandated practice of transparency we are excited to observe by putting the notes your doctor writes on the patient portal. Your open notes are available through [portal name]. If you need help finding them, contact support at [portal support email] OR view this short video [show step by step navigation to notes]. For help understanding what an open note is, check out this FAQ from OpenNotes."
1. Communicating with Clinicians
Clinicians and other staff members many still have questions about the impact of sharing notes: How can I explain open notes to patients? What have other health systems experienced? What research findings are helpful?
Here are some resources to help you understand the impact of open notes and help you make sharing notes a successful experience for your clinicians and patients.
|Patients Interview Video|
|Clinicians Interview Video|
|Tips for Writing Patient Friendly Notes (University Hospitals)|
2. Communicating with Patients
In the initial OpenNotes study, and in several subsequently, as many as 99% of patients offered online access to their notes approved of the practice and wanted it to continue. Still, for most, open notes can take some getting used to. Moreover, even though open notes are now available everywhere, more than a few patients may not realize that clinicians write notes. All patients will likely benefit from messaging about notes and your portal through multiple platforms, including posters, handouts, social media, email, text messaging, and person to person communication by members of the health team.
If you have an active Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), we recommend involving it in developing your materials. You’ll find more information in our PFAC Toolkit.
3. Helping Patients Find Their Notes
Unfortunately, navigating patient portals remains a challenge virtually everywhere, and we have learned that patients often give up before finding what they need. Health systems that make it easy for patients to access notes, and remind them when a new note is available, find that more patients choose to register for their portals and use open notes to full advantage.
Here are some particularly effective examples of how some health systems are helping their patients to find notes.
|Quicklink on Portal (UCHealth)|
|Portal Reminder (Mayo Clinic)|
|New Note is Available (Kaiser Permanente)|
|Portal Landing Page (Intermountain Health)|
|New Note is Available (BIDMC)|
|How do I find my notes? (Yale Health)|