Primary Care Physicians Best Booster of Patient Portal Adoption

Instead of launching broad integrated marketing and mailing campaigns to increase patient portal adoption, providers are more likely to succeed when encouragement comes from a patient’s primary care physician, one study concluded.

In a study of eight physician practices in Virginia, investigators compared rates of new account and portal registration, the frequency with which patients used the portal after it was created, as well as the duration of time users stayed logged in to their private accounts.

The study, published recently in The Annals of Family Medicine, focused on medium-sized physician practices because “Most published experiences with engaging patients online have occurred in integrated health systems that have resources and business models to support adoption, implementation, and maintenance of the personal health record,” researchers noted.

Investigators then compared adoption and portal usage rates between patients whose primary care provider introduced them to the portal at the point of care, versus patients who received portal creation information through the mail.

Ultimately, researchers found that of the patients informed about the portal during an office visit, 25.6 percent created an account, whereas the number patients who registered for the online upon getting information in the mail increased 16.8 percent compared to the results of a previously conducted trial.

These results come at a time when providers participating in the “meaningful use” EHR Incentive Program are struggling to meet the program’s patient engagement requirements.

Click here to read the full results of the study.


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