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KLAS: MU Stage 2 Drives EHR Patient Portal Offerings

September 17, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Meaningful use (MU) Stage 2 requirements are accelerating electronic health record (EHR)-specific patient portal adoption at an increasing rate, according to a new report from the Orem, Utah-based research and consulting firm, KLAS Research.

The latest KLAS report, entitled “Patient Portals 2013: On Track for Meaningful Use,” found that this increase is having a negative effect on best-of-breed vendors, as providers report that third-party solutions are not as well equipped as EHR offerings for the more engaging requirements of MU Stage 2.

The report showcased the performance of each of the patient portal offerings in the face of MU Stage 2 criteria, including patient engagement, ease of use, and support. The report also captures provider feedback on both the current states of the products and areas of future growth.

Specifically, providers gave Watertown, Mass.-based athenahealth top marks in every MU category. Customers appreciate the ease of uploading patient information and the portal’s flexible platform for educational content and patient messaging (via email, phone, or text). This has positioned athenahealth as the leader for patient engagement, according to the report.

On the other hand, EHR-agnostic products Medseek (Birmingham, Ala.) and Intuit (Cary, N.C.) are losing ground to EHR-specific offerings. Medseek is notably missing from this report, as KLAS could not validate enough customers using the product. Customers mentioned leaving Medseek due to unmet product expectations, high costs, or an enterprise EHR strategy. A quarter of Intuit’s customers reported plans to leave—three times higher than the market average.

The report also found that portals aren’t well equipped to handle the more engaging aspects of MU Stage 2. Only athenahealth and Intuit rated above average for sending reminders for preventive/ follow-up care and for providing patient-specific educational content. Verona, Wis.-based Epic rated well for patient-specific educational content.

Of the participants, 84 percent reported EHR integration as their main portal selection criterion. Yet integration with other systems/devices was the top-requested development focus. Only 11 percent were pulling information from multiple EHRs into their portal.

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