Boosting Engagement Through Patient Portals

Key findings:

  1. Patients want to actively use portal housed educational information and links
  2. Adding educational and savings offer content can enhance patients’ perceptions of patient portals
  3. Adding educational and savings offer content is likely to encourage higher rates of portal enrollment and increased engagement

EHR-driven patient portals have become commonplace in today’s medical landscape. But questions remain regarding their value to patients. Are portals delivering the content patients want? Perhaps more importantly, what is the potential benefit of shifting portal content to include more educational information as well as links to current savings offers and relevant patient resources?

In an effort to understand the potential engagement impact of adding such content to portals, ConnectiveRx recently conducted survey research among a sample of 1,002 consumers, patients,and caregivers (collectively referred to in this report as “patients”) aged 19 to 80 years. The survey excluded patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or indefinable health insurance status, as well those who had not had a healthcare professional (HCP) visit in the last 12 months.

[NOTE: To see background findings from this research, including data regarding the percentage of patients currently using their provider’s EHR patient portal, what patients want to accomplish as they use portals, and how they want to receive alerts from portals, visit the Resources section on ConnectiveRx.com and download the companion white paper, “EHR patient portals: Understanding patient participation and preferences.”]

In this survey, a patient portal was defined as a secure online website or app provided by a patient’s healthcare provider that enables a patient to interact and communicate with their provider. Portal capabilities vary, though typically, at a minimum, they allow patients to view some parts of their medical record (chosen by the provider), such as vaccination records or some standard lab results, and communicate with the provider through secure messaging. In this survey, reference to patient portals does not include insurance websites or apps, apps for wearable technology- or online health-related support communities or social media forums.

The results include three key findings.

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