Real-Time Access to Electronic Health Record via a Patient Portal: Is it Harmful? A Retrospective Observational Study.

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Real-Time Access to Electronic Health Record via a Patient Portal: Is it Harmful? A Retrospective Observational Study.

J Med Internet Res. 2020 02 06;22(2):e13622

Authors: van Kuppenveld SI, van Os-Medendorp H, Tiemessen NA, van Delden JJ

BACKGROUND: The rapid implementation of patient portals, through which patients can view their electronic health record, creates possibilities for information exchange and communication between patients and health care professionals. However, real-time disclosure of test results and clinical reports poses a source of concern.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to examine negative experiences resulting from real-time disclosure of medical information through a patient portal.
METHODS: Data were collected over a 2-year period in 4 datasets consisting of incidents reported by health care professionals, complaints of patients, patient issues at a portal helpdesk, and a survey among health care professionals. Incidents, complaints, issues, and answers on the survey were counted and analyzed through an iterative process of coding.
RESULTS: Within the chosen time frame of 2 years, on average, 7978 patients per month logged into the portal at least once. The amount of negative incidents and complaints was limited. A total of 6 incidents, 4 complaints, and 2506 issues at the helpdesk concerning the patient portal were reported, of which only 2, 1, and 3 cases of these respective databases concerned real-time disclosure of medical information through the patient portal. Moreover, 32 out of 216 health care professionals reported patients that had negative experiences with real-time disclosure. Most negative consequences concerned confused and anxious patients when confronted with unexpected or incomprehensible results.
CONCLUSIONS: Real-time access through a patient portal did not substantially result in negative consequences. The negative consequences that did occur can be mitigated by adequate preparation and instruction of patients concerning the various functionalities of the patient portal, real-time disclosure of test results in particular, and can also be managed through educating health care professionals about the patient portal and making adjustments in the daily practice of health care professionals.

PMID: 32044753 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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