Appl Clin Inform 2020; 11(03): 433-441
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1713412
Research Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Analysis of Employee Patient Portal Use and Electronic Health Record Access at an Academic Medical Center

Lina Sulieman
1  Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
,
Bryan Steitz
1  Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
,
S. Trent Rosenbloom
1  Department of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, United States
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

19 December 2019

14 May 2020

Publication Date:
17 June 2020 (online)

Abstract

Background Patient portals provide patients and their caregivers online access to limited health results. Health care employees with electronic health record (EHR) access may be able to view their health information not available in the patient portal by looking in the EHR.

Objective In this study, we examine how employees use the patient portal when they also have access to the tethered EHR.

Methods We obtained patient portal and EHR usage logs corresponding to all employees who viewed their health data at our institution between January 1, 2013 and November 1, 2017. We formed three cohorts based on the systems that employees used to view their health data: employees who used the patient portal only, employees who viewed health data in the EHR only, and employees who used both systems. We compared system accesses and usage patterns for each employee cohort.

Results During the study period, 35,172 employees accessed the EHR as part of patients' treatment and 28,631 employees accessed their health data: 25,193 of them used the patient portal and 13,318 accessed their clinical data in EHR. All employees who accessed their records in the EHR viewed their clinical notes at least once. Among EHR accesses, clinical note accesses comprised more than 42% of all EHR accesses. Provider messaging and appointment scheduling were the most commonly used functions in the patient portal. Employees who had access to their health data in both systems were more likely to engage with providers through portal messages.

Conclusion Employees at a large medical center accessed clinical notes in the EHR to obtain information about their health. Employees also viewed other health data not readily available in the patient portal.

Protection of Human and Animal Subjects

This study was submitted to the Institutional Review Board (IRB) Office and did not involve any human subjects. As such, it was exempt from IRB review.


Supplementary Material