Personal touch can get patients to use a portal in small primary care practices

September 23, 2014

By using direct engagement and promotion, primary care practices can match or potentially surpass patient portal engagement rates posted by large health systems, according to a new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

By using direct engagement and promotion, primary care practices can match or potentially surpass patient portal engagement rates posted by large health systems, according to a new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine.

Engaging patients through a practice’s portal is a core objective of meaningful use stage 2 (MU2) guidelines. Eligible providers who use secure electronic messaging to communicate with at least 5% of their patients on relevant health information in 2014 can receive MU2 incentive payments, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Communication is defined as giving patients the ability to view, download or transmit their medical information, or send an online message to their provider.

Previous studies have shown that getting patients in smaller practices to use a patient portal can be challenging. They lack the big advertising budgets of large practices, and may not have sufficient staff to support and implement portals.

The study followed the introduction of patient portals at eight primary care practices over a three-year period. The portals linked to each practice’s electronic health records (EHRs) system. Each practice implemented a series of customized learning collaboratives with practice champions and redesigned workflow to integrate portal use into care.

READ: Providers inch towards MU2, hospitals fall behind

 

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TRENDING   

 Meaningful Use 2  

 Oncology: Practice Management   ·   Preparing for ICD-10   ·  Obesity Management   ·   EHR Best Practices

PREVWhy is Medicare spending slowing? Give providers more time with MU3, EHRA saysNEXT

Providers inch toward MU2, hospitals fall behind

- See more at: http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/RC/providers-inch-toward-mu2-hospitals-fall-behind#sthash.2uBoBdlT.dpuf  

TRENDING   

 Meaningful Use 2  

 Oncology: Practice Management   ·   Preparing for ICD-10   ·  Obesity Management   ·   EHR Best Practices

PREVWhy is Medicare spending slowing? Give providers more time with MU3, EHRA saysNEXT

Providers inch toward MU2, hospitals fall behind

- See more at: http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/RC/providers-inch-toward-mu2-hospitals-fall-behind#sthash.2uBoBdlT.dpuf  

TRENDING   

 Meaningful Use 2  

 Oncology: Practice Management   ·   Preparing for ICD-10   ·  Obesity Management   ·   EHR Best Practices

PREVWhy is Medicare spending slowing? Give providers more time with MU3, EHRA saysNEXT

Providers inch toward MU2, hospitals fall behind

- See more at: http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/RC/providers-inch-toward-mu2-hospitals-fall-behind#sthash.2uBoBdlT.dpuf

Results showed that integrating the portal into routines was more successful as a promotion strategy than direct mail advertisements and more elaborate methods.

Patients created a portal account in an average of 59.5 days after their office visit, and 23.5% of patients did so within one day.  Fully 64% of patients created an account after two office visits, and another 21.8% did after four visits.

Patients logged into the portal an average of 3.7 times after creating an account and spent seven minutes per session. Among users, 26.7% visited the site only once.

The highest use rate by age group was 60 to 69-year-olds (33% usage).  Patients with chronic conditions had higher usage rates than patients without chronic conditions.

The study notes that engagement rates might be lower for online access offered by Internet companies or health plans, “where the imprimatur of one’s personal clinician is lacking.”