Patient Portal Impact by Barbara Duck


It takes more than putting a portal out there.   This model, as described in the study below, needs some rethinking as people don’t work the way algorithms do.  We need to work on “patient” engagement rather than “algorithm” engagement.

A recent Mayo Clinic study reveals secure messages and electronic visits (‘‘e-visits’’) through patient portals had no significant impact on adult primary care face to face visits, iHealthBeat reports. The study found that patients sending the most messages had higher numbers of face to face visit both before and after implementation of messaging; however, the frequency of their visits did not change.The study published in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health examined 2,357 primary care patients who used electronic messaging (both secure messages and e-visits) on a patient portal. The cohort comprised all adult primary care patient portal users in Rochester, MN. who also had at least one primary care office visit within the study time interval. Face-to-face appointment frequencies (visits/year) of each patient were calculated before and after the first message in a matched-pairs analysis. The study was approved by the Mayo Clinic Institutional Review Board.

Of course there will be more studies done here but this is good to see a model tested and what came out of it.  It’s going to take a while longer before we ease into more portal communications for sure according to what we read here.  People are not ready for all of this yet and speaking for myself I still like to see my doctor face to face.

Portals are good for follow up information and reading about diseases, drugs, etc. for sure with having it in one place to reference, no arguments there.  So all those folks who are doing these massive studies on billions going to be saved might want to hold off for a while or move their numbers ahead into the future a bit.   You really do have to watch what you read today too as we have a lot of “quantitated justification” news stories and reports that pop up.  So be aware…and time for more studies…not every model works as designed.

Barbara Duck blogs regularly at

49800cookie-checkPatient Portal Impact by Barbara Duck