Appl Clin Inform 2019; 10(01): 103-112
DOI: 10.1055/s-0039-1677722
Research Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Empowering Patients during Hospitalization: Perspectives on Inpatient Portal Use

Ann Scheck McAlearney
1  Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
2  CATALYST, Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics, and Systems Thinking, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
3  Department of Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
4  Division of Health Services Management and Policy, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
,
Naleef Fareed
2  CATALYST, Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics, and Systems Thinking, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
3  Department of Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
,
Alice Gaughan
2  CATALYST, Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics, and Systems Thinking, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
,
Sarah R. MacEwan
2  CATALYST, Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics, and Systems Thinking, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
,
Jaclyn Volney
2  CATALYST, Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics, and Systems Thinking, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
,
Cynthia J. Sieck
1  Department of Family Medicine, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
2  CATALYST, Center for the Advancement of Team Science, Analytics, and Systems Thinking, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
› Author Affiliations
Funding This research was supported by grants from the Agency for Healthcare Research on Quality [Grant# R01HS024091, Grant #R21HS024767, and Grant #P30HS024379].
Further Information

Publication History

30 June 2018

10 December 2018

Publication Date:
13 February 2019 (online)

Abstract

Background Patients have demonstrated an eagerness to use portals to access their health information and connect with care providers. While outpatient portals have been extensively studied, there is a recognized need for research that examines inpatient portals.

Objective We conducted this study to improve our understanding about the role of a portal in the context of inpatient care. Our study focused on a large sample of the general adult inpatient population and obtained perspectives from both patients and care team members about inpatient portal use.

Methods We interviewed patients (n = 120) who used an inpatient portal during their hospitalization at 15 days or 6 months after discharge to learn about their portal use. We also interviewed care team members (n = 331) 4 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months after inpatient portal implementation to collect information about their ongoing perspectives about patients' use of the portal.

Results The perspectives of patients and care team members generally converged on their views of the inpatient portal. Three features—(1) ordering meals, (2) looking up health information, and (3) viewing the care team—were most commonly used; the secure messaging feature was less commonly used and of some concern to care team members. The inpatient portal benefited patients in four main ways: (1) promoted independence, (2) reduced anxiety, (3) informed families, and (4) increased empowerment.

Conclusion Inpatient portals are recognized as a tool that can enhance the delivery of patient-centered care. In addition to empowering patients by increasing their sense of control, inpatient portals can support family members and caregivers throughout the hospital stay. Given the consistency of perspectives about portal use across patients and care team members, our findings suggest that inpatient portals may facilitate shifts in organizational culture that increase the patient centeredness of care and improve patient experience in the hospital context.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects

Conduct of this research was reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board affiliated with the authors' institution.


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