Studies Evaluate the Impact of Patient Portals

Robyn Nazar, RN

Robyn Nazar, RN

Posted on October 27, 2011

Although patient portal technology is relatively new, the importance of this development in the medical field has already prompted several peer-reviewed case studies to examine in the overall efficiency and impact of patient portals on healthcare delivery.
Patient Satisfaction
A 2005 study conducted by Tang and Langsky on the My Wellness Portal provided through the Oklahoma Physicians Resource/Research Network found that:

  • 60% believed it improved patient-provider interactions
  • The majority of patients found the portal to be “valuable”
  • Patient portal users reported feeling more connected to their providers than non-users

Phone Volume in Office
Leiderman, et al. (2005) performed a study on the University of California Davis Health Systems patient portal system which allows patients access to prescription refills, appointment request and test results. The results of the study showed that:

  • Clinics with the patient portal had 18% percent less call volume
  • Calls to the office with portal clinics were completed 6x faster than non-portal clinics

Doctor-Patient Interactions
In a study of Kaiser Permanente’s KP HealthConnect, Chen et al. found that after the implementation of the patient portal:

  • In-office visits decreased by 26%
  • Scheduled telephone visits increased by 9-fold
  • Total number of doctor-patient interactions increased by 8.3%

Provider Productivity
In the second part of Leiderman, et al. study researchers found that patient portal interactions freed up provider schedules and time allowing for additional patients and visits in the office. This resulted in

  • Approximately $100 increase per day per provider in patient profits (not including patient-portal revenue)

While there are still relatively few studies available, experts speculate that the implementation of meaningful use, rapid development of patient portal technology and the ongoing integration of EHR systems into patient portals will likely greatly increase the interest in this type of technology and broaden the scope of available data.
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