Jan 29, 2013 (04:01 AM EST)
7 Portals Powering Patient Engagement

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

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Between Meaningful Use and the concept of accountable care, patient portals went from behind the scenes to front and center in 2012, according to a recent KLAS report. Since this transition, the healthcare industry is seeing more engaged patients. In fact, a recent study by Kaiser Permanente showed that patients who had access to their online records and who may have taken advantage of other features on a patient portal used the healthcare system more than those who opted out of a portal.

As the use of patient portals increases and health information networks look to spur the innovation of patient portals through design challenges, KLAS looked at the leading patient portals already on the market. According to the study, MU requirements have increased the urgency of patient portals, but that hasn't changed providers' approach to adopting these systems. KLAS interviewed 104 providers on what portals are being used or considered, and what role they're playing on the healthcare stage. More than half of those interviewed -- 57% -- already have a portal in place.

"Most continue to use the portal aligned with their EMR, valuing the opportunity for easier integration," read the report. "Few [respondents] mentioned functionality as a driver for portal selection. Community hospitals and physician groups faced with the need to integrate disparate EMRs often go with best of breed."

EMR-based portals are a given for many who implemented these systems. According to the study, 71% of respondents who have a portal chose a product from their EMR vendor, and 68% of those without a portal planned to select one based on their EMR vendor. Portals that are either bundled or integrated with an EMR system not only save providers time and money, they also eliminate the need to invest in a new vendor relationship, learn a new system and build interfaces.

What's interesting, though, is that few respondents cited functionality in their portal selection criteria. Despite the onslaught on Meaningful Use Stage 2, this trend suggests that either today's portals have strong functionality or expectations are low, said KLAS. "In either case, current portal users appear satisfied," the report read. "When asked to assess the strength of their portal in six areas, average ratings ranged from 3.9 to 4.5 on a 1-5 scale."

Given the satisfaction many respondents have with their system, KLAS took a closer look at the top seven portals powering patient engagement. Click through to see solutions from Epic -- whose MyChart system accounted for 42% of respondents using portals in the study -- Cerner, McKesson, and more.