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Exaggerated patient-portal hopes?

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Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University found that, contrary to expectations, or at least hopes,  implementation of patient portal (Web site) communications didn’t cut the volume of phone calls to clinics.

They compared portal-adoption rates and phone calls at four clinics between February and June of 2014.

Despite increased portal-adoption rates at all four clinics, call volume rose  at two of the clinics–a for-profit community-based  center and a university-based  center.  Call volume remained steady at the other two — a rural center and a Federally Qualified Health Center.

The portal offered  online scheduling for the two clinics where  calls increased, but not for the other two. Patients might have found phoning for appointments more efficient, suggesting that other methods might be  needed to get more patients to make appointments by computer.

Or maybe people would continue to prefer to talk to humans, of all things.  Healthcare executives like patient portals because, among other things, they make it easier to lay off staff.

To read the study, please hit this link.

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