Appl Clin Inform 2016; 07(02): 489-501
DOI: 10.4338/ACI-2016-01-RA-0003
Research Article
Schattauer GmbH

Patient Portals

Who uses them? What features do they use? And do they reduce hospital readmissions?
Ashley Griffin
1  Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 135 Dauer Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599
,
Asheley Skinner
1  Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 135 Dauer Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599
,
Jonathan Thornhill
2  Learning and Diffusion Group, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, 7500 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21244
,
Morris Weinberger
1  Department of Health Policy and Management, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 135 Dauer Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27599
3  Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, Department of Veterans Affairs, Durham NC 27705
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Correspondence to:

Ashley Griffin, MSPH
5639 Old Chapel Hill Rd. Apt. 812
Durham
NC 27707
Phone: (828) 551-2206   

Publication History

received: 16 January 2016

accepted: 28 March 2016

Publication Date:
16 December 2017 (online)

 

Summary

Background

Patient portals have demonstrated numerous benefits including improved patientprovider communication, patient satisfaction with care, and patient engagement. Recent literature has begun to illustrate how patients use selected portal features and an association between portal usage and improved clinical outcomes.

Objectives

This study sought to: (1) identify patient characteristics associated with the use of a patient portal; (2) determine the frequency with which common patient portal features are used; and (3) examine whether the level of patient portal use (non-users, light users, active users) is associated with 30-day hospital readmission.

Methods

My UNC Chart is the patient portal for the UNC Health Care System. We identified adults discharged from three UNC Health Care hospitals with acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, or pneumonia and classified them as active, light, or non-users of My UNC Chart.

Multivariable analyses were conducted to compare across user groups; logistic regression was used to predict whether patient portal use was associated with 30-day readmission.

Results

Of 2,975 eligible patients, 83.4% were non-users; 8.6% were light users; and 8.0% were active users of My UNC Chart. The messaging feature was used most often. For patients who were active users, the odds of being readmitted within 30 days was 66% greater than patients who were non-users (p<0.05). There was no difference in 30-day readmission between non-users and light users.

Conclusions

The vast majority of patients who were given an access code for My UNC Chart did not use it within 30 days of discharge. Of those who used the portal, active users had a higher odds of being readmitted within 30 days. Health care systems should consider strategies to: (1) increase overall use of patient portals and (2) target patients with the highest comorbidity scores to reduce hospital readmissions.


#

 


#

Conflicts Of Interest

The authors report no conflicts of interests in the research.


Correspondence to:

Ashley Griffin, MSPH
5639 Old Chapel Hill Rd. Apt. 812
Durham
NC 27707
Phone: (828) 551-2206