Data on Portal Usage Shows Benefits of Mobile Apps for Healthcare
A new ONC Data Brief provides the latest insights on portal usage among American adults. For many years, the federal government has been using incentive programs to drive both EHR usage and portal adoption. In 2020, The Cures Act Final Rule was published. One of its core goals was to, “increase patient and provider access to health-related data, specifically through health IT developer adoption of secure standardized application programming interfaces (APIs) that make this information more widely available across smartphone apps (2).” According to this new brief, “The API requirements, which as of 2023 have been rolled out to health care providers, enable patients to electronically access their electronic health information using apps.”
Here are some important takeaways from this report:
57% of patients accessed online medical records or patient portals in 2022. That is double the number from 2017. The upsurge was driven at least in part by the pandemic.
3 in 4 people were offered access to their online medical records or patient portal in 2022. 3 in 5 accessed their online records or portal. In both cases, the number is a significant increase over 2020 numbers.
The use of apps to access online medical records increased between 2020 and 2022, while web-only access decreased. 51% of people who accessed their online medical records in 2022 used an app (only or in addition to a website)
Patients who used an app to access their online medical records accessed them more often. The rates of frequent access in 2022 (6 or more times in the past year) were significantly higher among individuals who accessed their online medical record using an app.
The main point of this data appears to be that the effort to make it easier for patients to get to their medical records via an app is working. It is clear that patients prefer accessing their data from a smartphone app and that drives higher usage. However, there is still room for improvement. According to the data, the biggest area for improvement is that even in 2022 “just under half of all individuals were not offered or did not access their online medical records or a patient portal in 2022.” The report also called out the fact that there are still some disparities in who is accessing their data, leaving room for ongoing improvement there as well.
There is plenty of data to suggest that offering access to patient-facing tools and technology through a branded mobile experience does drive adoption and reuse with healthcare consumers. Read more in this case study about Piedmont Healthcareor this one about WakeMed Health and Hospitals where they share their mobile strategy and successes.