Meaningful use stage 2 helped accelerate patient portal adoption

Stage 2 meaningful use likely helped increase patient portal use, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Historically, providers have had difficulty getting patient portals to catch on. Separate research published in January found 63 percent of insured patients have not used an online portal to communicate with their provider in the past year. Reasons for not using the portal varied, but the most common reason was that patients prefer to speak directly to their physicians.

For the new study in JAMIA, researchers wanted to determine if healthcare policies are helping spur adoption. Researchers compared patient portal use before stage 2 — from 2011 to 2013 — with use after stage 2 — from 2014 to 2017. Stage 2 began in 2014. They found the average use of patient portals increased nearly 7 percent between the two time periods. Though there is some difference in patient portal use by race/ethnicity, the researchers found use increased similarly across racial and ethnic groups.

The study authors called for more research into patient preferences around portals and their accessibility.


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