Among rated vendors, Epic, athenahealth and Medfusion are the most effective at helping their customers drive patient portal adoption, according to a new report from the Orem, Utah-based KLAS Research.
The report, "Patient Portals 2015: Adoption beyond Meaningful Use," found that all three vendors have over half of their customers report that at least 20 percent of patients have accessed the portal, a number well beyond the meaningful use bar of 5 percent. Most providers running other vendors are also getting over the 5 percent bar, but by a narrower margin, the data revealed.
As part of this report, KLAS interviewed 186 healthcare provider organizations to determine which vendors have proven to best meet current needs while also developing solutions for the future. The report analyzes three flavors of portals: enterprise, ambulatory and electronic medical record (EMR) agnostic.
Among fully rated vendors, Epic and athenahealth continue to provide the best overall customer experience. Both are highly rated in functionality, patient adoption, and vendor guidance. A trend toward rising expectations led five of eight ranked vendors to drop significantly in performance over the last year. Customers demand closure of functionality gaps, easier interoperability, and more responsive service. Only Medfusion and NextGen showed notable year-over-year improvements, the research found.
What’s more, according to the report, the most popular way to meet the meaningful use Stage 2 requirement for patient data access is to pressure patients to sign up at the point of care. Some providers have even hired staff especially for that purpose, but adoption rates remain relatively low. The most effective way to encourage patient adoption is to offer functionality that patients find useful. Portals like athenahealth, Epic, and Medfusion that offer strong administrative functionality (such as billing and self-scheduling) that saves time for patients’ families get the highest levels of patient adoption, KLAS found.
"Value-based care is forcing patient portals to evolve from being merely tools for reactive regulatory compliance to becoming valuable instruments that allow patients to proactively engage in their own care," said report author Coray Tate. "Providers report that vendor guidance and functionality that patients find useful, such as billing and self-scheduling, are the most effective ways to encourage portal adoption among patients."