A study supported by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs found that patients are embracing the concept of patient portals but the awareness among patients about the benefits of portals is rather low. There has been a rise in the usage of portals by patients to access and manage their health records but they are still unknown whether the portals actually improve outcomes, increase patient satisfaction or create efficiencies. The findings were published in a new research by the Annals of Internal Medicine. [twitter.com/HealthITplus]
The researchers reviewed 46 different patient portals connected to EHRs. The results from the portals were not as commendable as they had expected. The evidences were mixed as to whether the tools improved outcomes and satisfaction. The researchers also found that the effect on utilization and efficiencies of portals also was “unclear” to patients. Any benefits associated with portal use may actually be attributable to increased case management, the authors said.
Another research was able to spot deficiencies with patient portals. While patient engagement is a major component of Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program, patient portal vendors vary in their ability to meet the program’s requirements, and some providers are delaying purchase due to the inability of a portal to meet their needs.
Some hospitals also are choosing convenience over usability when it comes to patient portals, using the same vendor for both the portal and their EHR system.
Click here for an abstract of the study.