Hands-on training improves patient satisfaction with online portals: study

Patients who receive in-person training for online portals are more likely to use them, according to a study from Columbus-based Ohio State University College of Medicine. 

The study, published Sept. 13 in JAMA Network Open, observed 2,800 patients older than 18 as they navigated variations of an inpatient online portal. Patients were either given access to 10 functions of the portal — including ability to order food on demand, tutorials, patient education resources, care schedules, messaging with care providers and the outpatient portal — or access to three functions — food delivery, tutorials and patient education resources. 

Patients were trained in person by a study member or received a video tutorial on how to use the online portal.

Researchers found that patients who received in-person training were more likely to be classified as comprehensive users and accessed the portal more often. 

Additionally, participants with access to 10 functions used the portal more often than those who could access only three. 

In-person training and expanded functions could increase patient satisfaction by informing patients on their health status and care plan, thus allowing them to ask more targeted questions, according to the study. 

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