A study of patients at Kaiser Permanente in Colorado found that patient use of Web-based electronic health-record system portals was linked to an increased use of clinical services, including higher rates of office visits and telephone calls to providers.
Results of the study are set to be published in an article, "Patients with Online Access to Clinicians, Medical Records Have Increased Use of Clinical Services," in the Nov. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study looked at healthcare services by nearly 89,000 patients enrolled for at least 24 months with the integrated delivery network from March 2005 through June 2010. These patients were divided into two equal groups: those who were users of the organization's My Health Management patient online access system and those who were not. Researchers found "a significant increase in the per-member rates of office visits (0.7 per member per year) and telephone encounters (0.3 per member per year) for portal users compared with nonusers," according to a news release about the study.
"There was also a significant increase in per-1,000-member rates of after-hours clinic visits (18.7 per 1,000 members per year), emergency department encounters (11.2 per 1,000 members per year) and hospitalizations (19.9 per 1,000 members per year) for MHM users compared with nonusers," the release stated.