Ohio State Study Finds In-Person Training Can Increase Inpatient Portal Usage and Improve Patient Satisfaction

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hospital patients who receive hands-on training on how to access their personal health information through a secure online patient portal or who have access to more advanced portal features are more engaged in their healthcare and have higher patient satisfaction rates, according to research from The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

The research findings, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, suggest that healthcare institutions can have a positive effect on patient care and patient experience in hospital by investing in patient portals and teaching patients how to use them.

“Inpatient portals give patients access to clinical data such as test results, information about their care plan, and a way to communicate with doctors and nurses,” said Ann Scheck McAlearney, professor Emeritus in the Department of Family and Community Medicine, Executive Director of the Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics, and Systems Thinking in Health Services and Implementation Science Research (CATALYST), and Associate Dean for Health Services Research at Ohio State College of Medicine and Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Use of the portal supports a patient-centered model of care where patients are more engaged and informed about their healthcare and feel valued as patients.”

The “High Tech and High Touch” clinical trial offered two levels of training, in-person training by a study team member or video tutorials, and two levels of patient portal functionality, all features or functions limited. Patients were randomly placed into one of four groups: full technology and in-person training, full technology and video training, limited technology and in-person training, and limited technology and video training. .

Comprehensive technology portal gave patients access to 10 features including the ability to order food on demand, tutorials, patient education resources, care schedules, messaging with healthcare providers and the ambulatory portal. The limited technology portal gave patients access to three features: the ability to order food on demand, tutorials, and patient education resources.

In-person training by a technology navigator involved reviewing available functions and supervising and providing feedback to patients as they navigated tasks using the portal. The video tutorials alternative training option only provided an overview of the portal features available depending on whether the patient received a full technology or a limited technology portal.

“We found that patients who received personalized training accessed the portal more often and were more likely to be classified as full users than patients who only watched training videos,” McAlearney said. “Similarly, patients who had access to all functions of the Inpatient Portal used the devices more than patients with limited access to functions. »

The clinical trial ran from December 2016 to August 2019 at six hospitals at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center with a shared electronic health record platform. More than 2,800 patients aged 18 and over who identified English as their preferred language participated.

Future research on the patient portal will include the study “Better Birth Outcomes Through Technology, Education and Reporting” which will examine the possibilities of using patient portals to collect sensitive information from patients on the social determinants of health that can be shared with providers and guide interventions to improve maternal health. and infant outcomes and increasing health equity.

The study was led by McAlearney and conducted by CATALYST. Co-authors include: Daniel Walker, Naleef Fareed, Sarah MacEwan, Jennifer Hefner, Gennaro Di Tosto, Alice Gaughan, Lindsey Sova, Laura Rush, Dr Susan Moffatt-Bruce, Dr Milisa Rizer and Timothy Huerta.

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Media Contact: Serena Smith, Wexner Medical Center Media Relations, [email protected]

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