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Engaging patients through an iBooks-based patient portal tutorial


Introduction Patient portals or personal health records allow patients to access their health information and communicate with their physician’s office outside of their clinic visit. As such, their use has been observed to increase patient engagement and decrease administrative costs. Despite these advantages, patient adoption and successful use of patient portals remains low. Here we assess the feasibility and efficacy of an iBooks-based tutorial in increasing comfort and compliance with personal health record use.

Methods We created and published a 5-min iBooks-based tutorial describing our institution’s patient portal features. We administered the tutorial, along with presurvey and postsurvey, to ophthalmology clinic patients.

Results Of 70 participants, 50% had already registered for our institution’s patient portal. Registered patients had viewed labs (74%, n=26) and messaged providers (57%, n=20) but rarely used other features such as scheduling appointments (17%, n=6) or requesting refills (26%, n=9). After the tutorial, comfort levels in knowledge on how to use portal features increased by 20%–80%, depending on portal feature and registration status. Main barriers to portal usage were preference for telephone-based communication (26%, n=18) and knowledge of portal existence (21%, n=15). The majority (86%, n=60) agreed the tutorial would increase their utilisation of the patient portal.

Conclusion Tutorials increase knowledge and awareness of patient portal features, allowing these features to be fully used. An iBooks-based approach allows patients to successfully access and use tutorial content outside of the clinic.

  • Electronic Heath Record
  • Personal Health Record
  • Meaningful Use
  • Patient Engagement
  • Portal

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