Patient portals—websites allowing patients to easily and securely access their EHRs—were one of the big recommendations of meaningful use stage 2 in 2012. Yet three years into efforts to make portals a universal patient engagement tool, no one is calling them a resounding success.
UbiCare's new white paper, "Are Meaningful Use and Patient Portals Going the Way of the Dinosaur?," looks at why some patient portals are falling short and how to improve portal use. The paper also explores how the APIs recommended in meaningful use stage 3 could complement or replace portal use, as well as the future of meaningful use itself.
"Hospitals and health care practices have invested tremendous amounts of time, money, and effort into developing portals, learning how they work, and trying to get patients to access them, too," says UbiCare CEO Betsy Weaver, EdD. "But many patients still don't know they exist, or—if they do—find them hard to use and not very valuable."
Acknowledging the challenges of patient portals, CMS began recommending APIs as another way to connect patients with their EHRs in meaningful use stage 3. But the agency also recently announced that it will gradually move in a new direction, to align with the goals of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). MACRA focuses more on patient engagement and outcomes—and on reimbursing health care providers for care that proves successful for both.