Tablets, inpatient portals for patients linked with lower readmission rates, study finds

Offering patients access to an inpatient portal is correlated with lower 30-day readmission rates, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

A team of researchers enrolled 426 English- or Spanish-speaking patients from two cardiac medical-surgical units at an urban academic medical center for the study, and divided the participants into three groups: tablet with an inpatient portal, tablet with general internet access and no intervention.

The inpatient portals offered patients access to their EHR data, along with general internet access.

Patients that were offered a tablet with an inpatient portal experienced lower 30-day hospital readmission rates at 5.5 percent, compared to 12.9 percent for the tablet-only group and 13.5 percent for the usual care group.

Patients in the inpatient portal group were more likely to use the tablet to look up health information online (89.6 percent) compared to the tablet-only group (51.8 percent).

"Healthcare providers reported that patients found the portal useful and that the portal did not negatively impact healthcare delivery," the study reads. "These results illustrate [the] benefit of providing hospitalized patients with real-time access to their electronic health record data while in the hospital."

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