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Resource Overview

Patient portals, sometimes also referred to as personal health record systems (PHR) are web-based portals commonly attached to electronic health record systems (EHRs). These patient-centered portals provide patients with the ability to login and review health information related to their care. Common patient portal services include ways in which to schedule appointments, send messages to their care providers, review test results and refill prescriptions.

Outside of the benefits to the patient, implementation of patient portals had come to the attention of healthcare providers due to the inclusion of Meaningful Use of objectives centered on the use of patient portals and electronic engagement with patients.  Stage 3 requirements are still being explored and the impact it will have on Health Centers is unknown. Therefore, it is a challenge for small practices and Health Centers to determine how to best derive value from Patient Portals and effectively implement them into their workflow.

The tools and articles posted below are meant to provide examples, templates and strategies that can assist Health Centers in understanding how patient portals can better engage their patients in self-management of their care, and after an initial investment in time and money can decrease the burden on their clinical and administrative staff.

Patient Portal Resources
Remote Patient Monitoring, Electronic Patient Engagement, and mHealth Apps Explainer
Remote Patient Monitoring, Electronic Patient Engagement, and mHealth Apps Explainer

Remote Patient Monitoring, Electronic Patient Engagement, and mHealth Apps Explainer

Although health centers have more options than ever to use electronic tools to engage patients in care, selecting those that most effectively further the goal of providing high-quality and efficient patient care is challenging. In this explainer, we consider three types of tools that health centers may invest in: Remote Patient Monitoring, Electronic Patient Engagement, and mHealth Personal Apps. By understanding what they are and how they are implemented, their advantages and disadvantages, and how they align with value-based care and the clinical workflow, health centers can choose the suite of tools that best serve their patient needs.

The resource is available in the Documents to Download section below.

HITEQ Electronic Patient Engagement Tool Selection Rubric
HITEQ Electronic Patient Engagement Tool Selection Rubric

HITEQ Electronic Patient Engagement Tool Selection Rubric

This Excel-based scoring rubric is intended to be used by health centers to assess electronic patient engagement tools (like automated outreach SMS platforms) to determine which tool is most likely to meet the health center's needs.

Bridging the Digital Divide
Bridging the Digital Divide

Bridging the Digital Divide

Lack of Internet and broadband access prevents some patients from using telehealth and other technology that can support their own health care and getting accurate health care information. In one 2020 study, 42 million Americans lacked adequate access to broadband (high speed internet). As of 2019, about one in five people did not have smartphones, and among low income people nearly one third do not have a smartphone. Rates of computer ownership are not much better. Those patients who do have access to the technology may or may not have the capacity and willingness to use it, depending on past experiences. Some patients aren't comfortable with technology, while others don't trust it or believe that virtual care is sub-par, despite growing evidence of its benefits. This culminates in a clear digital divide that can hinder the ability for patients to fully engage in their care or take advantage of things like remote
patient monitoring, telehealth, mHealth, or patient portal.
This resource provides an overview and some tips for assessing a patient's ability to engage with technology for virtual care, and and interventions that can be used to bridge gaps that are uncovered.

Electronic Patient Engagement Tools: Adaptation for Use in COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout
Electronic Patient Engagement Tools: Adaptation for Use in COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout

Electronic Patient Engagement Tools: Adaptation for Use in COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout

Last fall, the HITEQ Center published an inventory describing many software tools that facilitate electronic patient engagement (EPE). The inventory detailed feedback from health center users of the EPE tools as well as information from the vendor about features and integration. As the health center workload has expanded to accommodate COVID-19 vaccination, the opportunity of EPE tools to address the needs of both health center and patients in this moment became apparent. HITEQ contacted the vendors included in the original inventory to gather supplemental information on how their products can be leveraged to support COVID-19 vaccine communication and distribution. Four EPE vendors responded, and those responses are outlined herein.

Electronic Patient Engagement (EPE) Tool Inventory
Electronic Patient Engagement (EPE) Tool Inventory

Electronic Patient Engagement (EPE) Tool Inventory

In the spring of 2020, HITEQ and several PCA and HCCN colleagues developed a survey to gather detailed information on health center experiences with a variety of EPE tools and included questions about product functions, strengths & weaknesses, cost, integration with EHRs, ease of implementation, and quality of vendor support. The results of that survey, as well as interviews and demonstrations are captured in this EPE Tool Inventory.

Opportunities to Improve Diabetes Outcomes through Electronic Patient Engagement
Opportunities to Improve Diabetes Outcomes through Electronic Patient Engagement

Opportunities to Improve Diabetes Outcomes through Electronic Patient Engagement

Electronic patient engagement technologies are having a significant impact on diabetes-related health outcomes and can help to increase patient to provider diabetes care plan involvement and communication. This HITEQ webinar explored use cases and strategies for effective adoption and evaluation of electronic patient engagement diabetes interventions within the health center setting.

Community Health Center Adoption Framework for Electronic Patient Engagement
Community Health Center Adoption Framework for Electronic Patient Engagement

Community Health Center Adoption Framework for Electronic Patient Engagement

The introduction of electronic personal health records (PHR) systems, and the patient portals used to provide patients access to those records, into the fabric of the U.S. healthcare system provides a major opportunity to encourage positive health management practices, such as chronic disease management and increased care plan adherence, through greater engagement of the patient.  Unfortunately, there is still a broad gap between the effective use of PHR technologies where advanced health information services are perhaps most needed, especially within the underserved communities supported by community health centers. This guide provides health centers with an adoption framework that can be used to assess the goals and methods for deploying electronic patient engagement services.

Health Literacy Online
Health Literacy Online

Health Literacy Online

As Health Centers increase the amount of electronic communications sent out to their patients they need to continually assess the literacy level of the content that they are sending out across patient portals, text messages, and social networks. This guide provided by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion helps staff "develop intuitive health websites and digital tools that can be easily accessed and understood by all users — including the millions of Americans who struggle to find, process, and use online health information."

The Patient Engagement Playbook
The Patient Engagement Playbook

The Patient Engagement Playbook

The Patient Engagement Playbook provides Health Centers with strategies for improving patient enrollment, activation and communication, care giver engagement and integration of patient-generated health data. For Health Centers attesting to Meaningful Use stages the Playbook also provides guidance and clarification around meeting patient engagement related objectives.

Multi-lingual Patient Portal Status and Resources for Health Centers
Multi-lingual Patient Portal Status and Resources for Health Centers

Multi-lingual Patient Portal Status and Resources for Health Centers

Health Center clients represent a broad range of cultures, many of whom do not speak English, or at the least have a limited vocabularly and find it difficult to read or write in English. Unfortunately, many of the current patient portals supported by some of the primary electronic health record (EHR) systems used by Health Centers do not provide a broad range of available languages. Provided in this resource is a listing of the current status of patient portals and the degree to which they provide multi-lingual support.

Beyond the Patient Portal
Beyond the Patient Portal

Beyond the Patient Portal

This Chilmark Research report discusses challenges to current patient portal systems which may help health center leadership better understand why or why not they are encountering issues when trying to effectively engage their clients with patient portal systems.

This video may also provide insights to various technologies that health centers may consider adopting to further achieve patient activation and engagement goals.

Minor and Parental Access to Patient Portals
Minor and Parental Access to Patient Portals

Minor and Parental Access to Patient Portals

This guide provides examples and overviews of patient portal considerations for minors as it relates to Meaningful Use, HIPAA. state consent laws and associated policies. The articles and presentations included for download and linked to from related websites include use cases and examples from multiple states and national level guidelines.

Patient Portals and Meaningful Use
Patient Portals and Meaningful Use

Patient Portals and Meaningful Use

This article provides an overview of a patient portal implementation conducted by Patients First within east central Missouri counties. The NextMD patient portal was rolled out in August 2010 and serves three core functions:  1) Providing patients with an electronic clinical summary, 2) Providing timely access to lab results, and 3) Providing secure messaging with clinical and office staff.

Measuring Patient Portal Impact
Measuring Patient Portal Impact

Measuring Patient Portal Impact

This report published by the California Health Care Foundation provides preliminary findings of patient portal impact as it relates to safety-net organizations.

HHS Whiteboard on Health Care Data
HHS Whiteboard on Health Care Data

HHS Whiteboard on Health Care Data

This YouTube video provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers a white board style overview of how electronic health record systems directly support a patient's health. It includes topics of health data standards, health information exchange, health apps and new technologies, and patient rights to their health information.

A Patient Portal Use Case from ONC
A Patient Portal Use Case from ONC

A Patient Portal Use Case from ONC

The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) has recently published several patient portal stories from patients who found success in being able to better understand their and their families conditions, care plans and health services received. These patient portal stories are meant to help both providers and patients understand how patient portals can increase a patient's engagement with their care and increase communication between healthcare staff and patients and between patients and their family members.

Strategic Cybersecurity Investments: Leveraging American Rescue Plan Funding to Enhance Infrastructure and Services
Strategic Cybersecurity Investments: Leveraging American Rescue Plan Funding to Enhance Infrastructure and Services

Strategic Cybersecurity Investments: Leveraging American Rescue Plan Funding to Enhance Infrastructure and Services

Healthcare continues to be the sector most targeted globally by ransomware and related malware attacks and leads in the average total cost of data breach across industries. The FY 2021 American Rescue Plan Funding provides an excellent opportunity for Health Centers to make strategic investments in cybersecurity infrastructure and services. This HITEQ Highlight, presented by Adam Kehler of Online Business Systems provides an overview of assets that can increase Health Center cybersecurity. Topics covered include cybersecurity infrastructure and services that can increase defense-in-depth for health IT, including EHRs, telehealth tools and services, mobile medical devices, patient portals, and related health information software applications.

Note: You can view our American Rescue Plan: Budget Your Cybersecurity Investments guidance document in the Documents to Download section below. An accessible version of the handout is is also available in the Documents to Download section. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Communication: Electronic Patient Engagement Vendor Discussion
COVID-19 Vaccine Communication: Electronic Patient Engagement Vendor Discussion

COVID-19 Vaccine Communication: Electronic Patient Engagement Vendor Discussion

View a brief presentation by HITEQ and HealthTalk followed by facilitated questions and discussion on their electronic patient engagement platform and the features within the platform that can assist health centers with COVID vaccine communication and dissemination.

Note that these sessions are not an endorsement of any specific vendor. These are an opportunity for health centers to hear about 3rd party vendors and get questions answered.  

 
COVID-19 Vaccine Communication: Electronic Patient Engagement Vendor Discussion
COVID-19 Vaccine Communication: Electronic Patient Engagement Vendor Discussion

COVID-19 Vaccine Communication: Electronic Patient Engagement Vendor Discussion

View a brief presentation by HITEQ and CareMessage followed by facilitated questions and discussion on their electronic patient engagement platform and the features within the platform that can assist health centers with COVID vaccine communication and dissemination. 

 
COVID-19 Vaccine Communication: Electronic Patient Engagement Vendor Discussion
COVID-19 Vaccine Communication: Electronic Patient Engagement Vendor Discussion

COVID-19 Vaccine Communication: Electronic Patient Engagement Vendor Discussion

View a brief presentation by HITEQ and WELL Health followed by facilitated questions and discussion on their electronic patient engagement platform and the features within the platform that can assist health centers with COVID vaccine communication and dissemination. 

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Acknowledgements

This resource collection was cultivated and developed by the HITEQ team with valuable suggestions and contributions from HITEQ Project collaborators.

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The Quadruple Aim
Quadruple Aim

A Conceptual Framework

Improving the U.S. health care system requires four aims: improving the experience of care, improving the health of populations, reducing per capita costs and improving care team well-being. HITEQ Center resources seek to provide content and direction aligned with the goals of the Quadruple Aim

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