Web-based patient portal improves perceptions of patient-centeredness and receipt of preventive services

Health Information Technology

Primary care-based implementation of a Web-based Wellness Portal can improve the quality of patient-centered preventive care, suggests a new study. The Wellness Portal is a novel, internet-based patient portal that focuses on wellness, prevention, and longitudinal health, which was developed and tested by a group of researchers at the University of Oklahoma. They found that patients who had access to the portal were more likely to perceive that their care was patient-centered and were more likely to receive recommended preventive services than patients without access to the portal (84.4 percent vs. 67.6 percent), despite having fewer office visits (average of 2.9 vs. 4.3). Children whose parents had access to the portal were more likely to receive immunizations than others (95.5 percent vs. 87.2 percent). The recommended preventive services included taking low-dose aspirin, if indicated, receiving Pneumovax (a pneumonia vaccine) because of chronic health conditions, and, for children, receiving all recommended immunizations. To determine the portal’s effect on the degree to which recommended services were individualized and provided, the researchers examined the behavior and experiences of both patients and primary care providers.

The portal was tested in four Oklahoma primary care practices. Two of the practices were small rural practices and the others were medium-size suburban family practices. The study included 422 adult patients between the ages of 40 and 75 and parents of 116 children between the ages of 2 and 5. Portal users received basic technical assistance. They could sign up for the portal online. Once registered, each patient was offered the following menu of options: update preventive services history, assess personal risk factors, review personalized wellness plan, track and chart vital signs and laboratory results, work on symptom diary, update medical encounters history, manage medication and problem list, and download a personal health record. This study was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS17188) as part of an initiative on Enabling Patient-Centered Care through Health IT (www.ahrq.gov/clinic/tp/pcchittp.htm) that is a part of the Agency’s Ambulatory Safety and Quality Program.

For a brief video highlighting this study, select http://healthit.ahrq.gov/AHRQHealthITSuccessStoriesMoldVideo. A research brief is also available at http://healthit.ahrq.gov/MoldSuccessStory2013.pdf. See "Impact of a wellness portal on the delivery of patient-centered preventive care" by Zsolt Nagykaldi, Ph.D., Cheryl B. Aspy, Ph.D., Ann Chou, Ph.D., and James W. Mold, M.D. in the March-April 2012 Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 25(2), pp. 158-167.

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Current as of March 2013
Internet Citation: Web-based patient portal improves perceptions of patient-centeredness and receipt of preventive services: Health Information Technology. March 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/13mar/0313RA36.html