Patient enrollment, use, and satisfaction with patient portals

Many physicians are adopting patient portals in response to governmental incentives for meaningful use (MU), but the stage 2 requirements for portal use may be particularly challenging for newer electronic health record (EHR) users. This study examines enrollment, use based on MU requirements, and satisfaction in a recently-adopting fee-for-service multispecialty system.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for meaningful use (MU)1 likely will persuade many reluctant doctors to adopt (EHRs). However, there are strong concerns about whether most physicians will be able to adopt and utilize these EHRs to meet MU standards.

The study team examined data from 2010 to 2012 of users of a available patient portal linked to the EHR of a multispecialty academic group practice and 10 affiliated community primary care clinics. Patient portals linked to commercial EHRs are likely to offer the most commercially practical way for new EHR users to meet CMS MU patient access regulations. The results indicate that even some large centers with patient portals will have difficulty with some of their physicians' enrollment targets.

The study suggests that patients at later-adopting centers are moving quickly to embrace online programs, and that primary care, but not specialty , can satisfy many of their expectations even without large redesigns of care.

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