System-Wide Inpatient Portal
 Implementation: Survey of Health Care Team Perceptions.

Hefner JL, Sieck CJ, Walker DM, Huerta TR, McAlearney AS
JMIR Med Inform 5 e31 09/14/2017


BACKGROUND: Inpatient portals, a new type of patient portal tailored specifically to the hospital setting, can allow patients to access up-to-date health information and exchange secure communications with their care team. As such, inpatient portals present an opportunity for patients to increase engagement in their care during a time of acute crisis that emphasizes focus on a patient's health. While there is a large body of research on patient portals in the outpatient setting, questions are being raised specifically about inpatient portals, such as how they will be incorporated into the flow of patient care in hectic, stressed, team-based hospital settings.

OBJECTIVE: Our aim is to improve understanding about hospital care team members' perceptions of the value of an interactive patient portal for admitted patients, as well as to ascertain staff orientation toward this new technology.

METHODS: Throughout the course of 2016, an inpatient portal, MyChart Bedside (MCB) was implemented across a five-hospital health system. The portal is a tablet-based app that includes a daily schedule, lab/test results, secure messaging with the care team, a place to take notes, and access to educational materials. Within a month of initial rollout, hospital care team members completed a 5-minute, anonymous online survey to assess attitudes and perceptions about MCB use and staff training for the new technology.

RESULTS: Throughout the health system, 686 staff members completed the survey: 193 physicians (23.6%), 439 nurses (53.7%), and 186 support staff (22.7%). Questions about the importance of MCB, self-efficacy in using MCB with patients, and feelings about sufficient training and resources showed that an average of 40-60% of respondents in each group reported a positive orientation toward the MCB technology and training received. This positive orientation was highest among support staff, lower among nurses, and lowest for physicians (all differences by staff role were statistically significant at P<.001). Additionally, 62.0% of respondents reported "not enough" training.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite the robust training effort, similar to that used in previous health information technology implementations at this health system, hospital care team members reported only a moderately positive orientation toward MCB and its potential, and the majority wanted more training. We propose that due to the unique elements of the inpatient portal-interactive features used by patients and providers requiring explanation and collaboration-traditional training approaches may be insufficient. Introduction of the inpatient portal as a new collaborative tool may thus require new methods of training to support enhanced engagement between patients and their care team.

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