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Over-rated patient portals?

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Todd Johnson, writing for Med City News, takes a skeptical look at the pitfalls, promises and potential of patient portals. Among his observations:

“{H}ere is the problem with most portals today: Patients have little interest in using them because they don’t offer enough value.

“Patients don’t care about ‘Meaningful Use’ and the fact that their provider will lose money if they don’t create an account and actually use the portal. Patient portals are notoriously obsolete and difficult to navigate, and patients often struggle to interpret medical information, such as test results.

“An extensive body of research exists related to patient portal usability and satisfaction among users. Until now, few studies have looked at the impact of portals on hospital outcomes. A new study out of the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association in December last year found that 30-day readmissions, inpatient mortality, and 30-day mortality were virtually the same when comparing hospitalized patients who used portals with those who did not. The researchers concluded that patient portals might not ultimately improve hospital outcomes.”

To  read all of Mr. Johnson’s article, please hit this link.

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