Study: Providers take easy route when adding patient portals

Hospitals opt for convenience when they choose an online patient portal to go with their electronic health record systems, according to a new study released Jan 2 by KLAS Research. In the study of 104 hospitals, health systems and clinics, KLAS found that more than half (57 percent) already have a portal in place, and most are using the same vendor for both the patient portal and their EHR system.

"The existing EMR-vendor relationship appears to be more important than any other factor when choosing a patient portal," study author Mark Allphin said in KLAS' Jan. 2 announcement. "While functionality and ease of use are important to providers, they take a backseat compared to providers' desire to manage fewer vendors and interfaces."

However, those groups surveyed did show "significant interest" in several third party patient portal vendors, including Intuit Health, Jardogs, Medseek, NextGen and Relay Health.

The study also noted that the patient portal market was on the verge of a "growth spurt" due to the requirements of Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use Incentive Program, which is slated to go into effect in 2014. Stage 2 requires that 5 percent of patients access records through a portal, as well as requiring the ability to view, download and transmit health information.

The proposed requirements for Stage 3, which are not yet finalized, would require even greater patient portal functionality. These features include: offering patients the capability of submitting patient-generated information, the ability to request amendments of patients' records online, and including caregiver name and contact information.

To learn more:
- here's the KLAS announcement