Health IT Executives Unenthused About Patient Portals, Study Finds

October 30, 2014 in News

Health IT executives are unenthusiastic about their organizations’ patient portals, according to a study by HIMSS Analytics, Clinical Innovation Technology reports (Pedulli, Clinical Innovation Technology, 10/28).

HIMSS Analytics is the research arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.

Details of Study

The study is based on responses from 125 health IT executives, as well as information from the HIMSS Analytics database.

Researchers examined providers’ experiences with patient engagement criteria under Stage 2 of the meaningful use program (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 10/29).

Under the 2009 economic stimulus package, providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHRs can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Findings

The study found that while patient portal adoption is increasing, health IT executives are still unsure of the benefits of such technology (Perna, Healthcare Informatics, 10/28).

That attitude can be attributed in part to cultural issues within organizations that pose challenges to patient engagement initiatives, which is “disconcerting given the fact many hospitals lean on IT leaders to drive the organization’s patient engagement efforts,” according to the report.

The study also found that:

  • 65.8% of hospitals have a patient portal for paying medical bills;
  • 23.2% provided patients with access to diagnostic results through the portals; and
  • 22.5% allowed access to personal health records through patient portals (Health Data Management, 10/29).

The patient portals often are supplied by the electronic health record vendor that an organization uses, according to the study (Clinical Innovation Technology, 10/28).

However, while HIMSS Analytics found room for improvement among patient portals, “health care organizations are positively leaning towards implementing patient engagement efforts,” according to the study (Health Data Management, 10/29).

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