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Study finds link between access to online health information and use of clinical services
Date:11/20/2012

DENVER, Nov. 20 Patients with online access to their medical record, including secure email communication with clinicians, had an associated increase in use of some clinical services, according to new Kaiser Permanente research published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study examined health records of more than 500,000 Kaiser Permanente members in Colorado between May 2005 and June 2010. The researchers looked at office visits, telephone encounters, after-hours clinic visits, emergency department encounters, and hospitalizations between members with and without online access to the health care provider's patient portal, My Health Manager on kp.org.

While this study found an association between a patient's use of these online tools and an increase in clinical services, it did not determine or examine the reasons behind the increase.

"Kaiser Permanente has been using an electronic health record for more than a decade. Our clinicians have become sophisticated in their use of the EHR as a tool to improve care coordination as well as the quality of care we deliver to our members," said Ted Palen, MD, PhD, MPSH, a clinician researcher at Kaiser Permanente's Institute for Health Research and the lead author of the study. "Our members have also become more mature in their understanding of and use of the online health care tools available to them through My Health Manager. Our future research will examine the impact of these tools on health care delivery models, patient health status, and their health outcomes."

In the study, more than 44,000 online users were matched with 44,000 non-online users. Members with My Health Manager access had 16 percent more office visits and 8 percent more telephone calls per member per year after signing up with online access compared to their rate before they had online access. In contrast, members without access to My Health Manager had 8 percent fewer
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Contact: Catherine Hylas Saunders
csaunders@golinharris.com
202-585-2603
Kaiser Permanente
Source:Eurekalert

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