KLAS: More than half of providers offer patient portals

57% of healthcare IT execs are ahead of the game
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More than half the health systems, hospitals and clinics in a new KLAS survey offer a patient portal, with Epic's MyChart being the most widely used.

The poll of 104 healthcare IT execs also found them going to their EHR vendor for their portal technology, according to Healthcare IT News. That includes offerings from Cerner, Epic, Intuit Health, Jardogs, MEDSEEK, Next Gen and Relay Health.

KLAS says the "push" of Meaningful Use and the "pull" of accountable care have put portals in the limelight, with this 57 percent ahead of the game.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 requires providers to have at least 5 percent of patients using a portal. However, a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services official told those attending the Medical Group Management Association Conference in San Antonio in October that that rule might be revisited if it proves too onerous for providers to implement. Physicians have opposed the rule, arguing that the behavior of their patients isn't something they can control.

Meanwhile, Meaningful Use Stage 3 rules are open for public comment, requiring even more patient engagement. In a Health IT Buzz blog post, Jodi G. Daniel, director of the Office of Policy and Planning, said Stage 3 will move beyond implementation to a "collaborative, patient and family-centric approach."  

Some physicians have said online interaction through patient portals will mean fewer office visits, though a recent study from Kaiser Permanente Colorado found portal users seek out more medical services, not fewer. In fact, a physician practice of 1,000 patients could expect portal interaction to lead to 10 more office visits a week, according to the Kaiser researchers.

A Canadian study found doctors less thrilled than patients with an online diabetes management system, largely because they found it confusing and navigation difficult, but a Swedish study found that when physicians are involved in collaborating on content for a site, they're more likely to recommend it to their patients.

In a second post on the topic in FierceMobileHealthcare, editor Gienna Shaw waxes poetic on four more things that would make her own patient portal totally awesome.  

To learn more:
- find the KLAS report
- read the Healthcare IT News article

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