Out of the box, I think the only comments you'll be able to get on a drawing are the ones from the File > Properties > Summary tab. I think you're wanting the comments that users can leave in the FeatureTree and I don't see any way to pull those out of the box. Might have to look into a macro.
Kris, unfortunately, the only way to access the comments is through the API.
I have some ideas for alternative approaches:
In 2013, you can overlay a mark-ups from edrawings on an open model or drawing. You'd have to change your review protocol to include edrawings
In 2012 you can use the part reviewer to systematically go through the comments in a file (it rebuilds to the feature containing the comment and diplays the text in the task pane)
You can add comments to the file history in Workgroup pdm
OneNote is a really good collaboration tool. I use it to maintain product diaries and put most of my notes in there. It works out well because OneNote automatically annotates and links screen captures and generates hyperlinks to share specific citations.
EPDM does some automatic notifications by email when documents move through a workflow
That's all I can think of.
It sounds like what you're looking for is something to get the user's attention when the file notes have changed that will display them in a heads-up fashion.
But let's face it, you can throw any technology at a communication problem and the situation won't improve a bit if you don't document and enforce your protocols. If you tell people , 'the official notes on a file are in the comments folder. If it's not in there it's not in the plan' and write it into your SOP or department guidelines, you can get your team to use any mechanism you choose.
That being said, you want to use the most facilitative tool you can. The problem with comments is that you have to modify the file in order to leave them-and that keeps people without control of a specific document from giving feedback and making observations. Also comments are really limited. They're designed to be relevant when the user draws their attention to a specific feature-thus the balloon behavior. I use them to explain stuff like why I have an unabsorbed sketch on a terminal (wire path) that I don't want someone down the road to delete as superfluous.
That's a lot of words to say, I don't know what to tell you, but hopefully you can glean some ideas from them.
Unfortunately I'm using SW 2010.
I get the gist of what you are saying, but working in a company that has been doing things a certain way for a long time, as you know, can be daunting. Getting people to look in "new" areas on a drawing or file can be a challenge. I shall perservere though!