START Conference Manager    

ASIST 2012 Annual Meeting 
Baltimore, MD, October 26-30, 2012 

Understanding Patient-Provider Communication Entered Via a Patient Portal System
Si Sun, Xiaomu Zhou, Joshua C. Denny, Trent Rosenbloom and Hua Xu

Monday, 6:30pm


Patient portal is a relatively new healthcare information technology that can facilitate patient-provider communication. Our study examines the themes of the interactions and different ways in which patients communicate with their providers via a patient portal in a large medical center. We explore the differences between patient portal and more traditional communication media, and investigated the advantages and potential problems of the patient portal system. Our study is based on 1172 interactions made among stakeholders who were related to 100 patients randomly selected from the patient pool in 2009. Thirty-five of the 100 randomly selected patients used the patient portal for messages. The findings show a wide range of topics discussed and how patients provide and seek information as well as express psychosocial and emotional needs. We also find that although the patient portal has advantages over traditional communication technologies such as improving efficiency and accuracy of information delivery, it was not the primary form of communication in this sample. More research is needed to better elucidate barriers to the use of patient portals and the optimal methods of communication given differing contexts.