New Evidence Why Your Patients and Practice Will Benefit From EMR Portals

June 4, 2013

The Annals of Internal Medicine released a report in October titled “Inviting Patients to Read their Doctors Notes: A Quasi Experimental Study and A Look Ahead.” This massive study was conducted at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Massachusetts and tracked over 13,500 patients. Those patients who accessed portions of their medical records, had higher compliance rates when taking prescribed medication, than did those individuals not reviewing medical records. The patients accessing their medical records felt more in control of their care and were more satisfied with their providers. Interestingly physicians did not report patients taking longer visits. At the end of the study no physicians previously engaged in the study wished to eliminate patient portals and prevent their patients from seeing medical records. This study shows that portals and access to physician records worked well for both patients and physicians.

The second report was released by the Journal of the American Medical Association in November “The Association of Online Patient Access to Clinicians and Medical Records with the Use of Clinical Services.” This study looked at utilization of health care by individuals that had access through portals to their medical records. Interestingly, this study found that having online access to medical records and clinicians was associated with increased use of clinical services. This means that the patients were more engaged and used medical services to a greater extent because of portals.

These two studies when taken together show the importance and value of EMR portals. Patients not only like these portals but achieve better medical outcomes and are more compliant because of them. Additionally the portals lead to higher utilization services led by medical practices. This means more money for the practice. Finally, physicians do not seem to find patients accessing their medical records via portals to be difficult or time consuming patients. It is not an over statement to say that use of portals leads to a patient population that achieves better health care results, are more compliant and are more profitable for the practice. What’s not to like?