Survey: Patient Portals Fall Short of Improving Patient Engagement

April 9, 2015 in News

Patient portal technologies so far have failed to effectively engage patients, reduce costs and improve clinical outcomes, according to a survey by HIMSS Analytics, Health Data Management reports.

Survey Details

The survey — which was sponsored by InterSystems, a provider of advanced software technologies — polled executives from 114 health care organizations. HIMSS Analytics also conducted a focus group of nine executives (Slabodkin, Health Data Management, 4/8).

An executive summary of the survey will be presented at HIMSS15, which starts April 13 (HIMSS Analytics release, 4/6).


The survey identified respondents’ top drivers for patient engagement:

  • 77% said enhancing and improving community health;
  • 77% said building brand loyalty for patients; and
  • 60% said meeting meaningful use requirements.

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

However, respondents said that portals need more advanced functionalities to better engage patients and allow patients to take control of their health. Specifically, the survey found:

  • 80% of respondents said they were seeking electronic visit or electronic consultation capabilities;
  • 70% said they were seeking interoperability among several providers;
  • 70% said they were seeking health evaluation and coaching tools; and
  • 50% said they were seeking telehealth visit capabilities.

According to the survey, about two-thirds of respondents said they are currently using patient portals offered by their EHR vendor.

Among respondents with patient engagement strategies:

  • 71% said they are using portals to meet data sharing requirements under the meaningful use program;
  • 54% said they are using portals that offer combined patients services, technology and content; and
  • 51% said they are using portals as information exchange platforms (Health Data Management, 4/8).
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