This study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, explores how health care portals have the potential to provide consumers with timely, transparent access to health care information and engage them in the care process.
The objective of this study was to examine the use, utility, and impact on engagement in care and caregiver-provider communication of a client/family portal providing access to electronic health records (EHRs) and secure, 2-way e-messaging with care providers.
Although usage patterns varied, the typical pattern was a steady level of use (2.5 times a month over an average of 9 months), which is higher than typically reported use.
A web-based survey captured caregivers’ perceptions of usefulness of and satisfaction with the EHR and portal messaging, as well as the portal’s impact on their engagement in care and perceptions of caregiver-provider communication.
Caregivers and service providers saw appreciable information benefits and provided recommendations to increase portal use and utility. Caregivers focused on the scope of organizational adoption of the portal system and indicated their hopes for the future of the portal, whereas service providers were concerned about how to best manage their investment of time and effort in preparing client-friendly reports and messaging clients via the portal.
Overall, the findings show the promise of the portal and the need for ongoing evaluation to show the portal’s ultimate potential in enhancing engagement in care and communication with care providers.
Gillian King, Joanne Maxwell, Amir Karmali, Simon Hagens, Madhu Pinto, Laura Williams, Keith Adamson
Read PIF’s 2017 Guide to Personal Health Records: Learning from voices of experience to find out more about personal health and care records.