Patient Portals: An Educational Project to Improve Provider Readiness
Background: With the adoption of the Health Information Technology for Economical and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009, came the implementation of the electronic health record (EHR) and incentivized provider programs called Meaningful Use (MU). A goal of MU is to utilize patient portals to improve access to care. Current evidence supports patient portal use however providers are concerned about increased work load and lost revenue because of the time spent managing the portals rather than providing direct, billable patient care.
Purpose: The purpose of this project was to assess provider readiness for patient portals and provide an educational intervention to address perceived barriers.
Method: Ten providers at a large family practice clinic in the southwest United States were surveyed using The Provider Readiness Questionnaire prior to and after an educational intervention addressing common concerns.
Results: Improved response to patient portal use after the provider viewed the learning module. A paired-samples t-test was conducted to compare pre-and post-intervention responses. There was a statistically significant difference in the scores for the question “increase my workload” Pretest (M= 3.78, SD=1.201) and; Posttest (M=2.67, SD=1.225) ;(t (8) =5.547, p = .001). There was also a statistically significant difference for the question “increased provider professional satisfaction” Pretest (M=3.89, SD= .333) and Posttest (M= 4.44, SD=.527); t (8) = -2.294, p=.051).
Implications: Providing education addressing perceived barriers to portal use can assist the provider in understanding the value of the portals to improve patient outcomes and address common concerns about the impact of portal use on provider productivity.