ElectronicHealthcare

ElectronicHealthcare 11(2) September 2012 : 17-23
Case Study

Access to Test Results "The Number One Reason" Why Patients Use a Portal according to Sunnybrook MyChart™ Users

Kevin Chung, Sarina Cheng, Kevin J. Leonard and Sandra Dalziel

Abstract

In 2006, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre created MyChart™, a personal health record solution available to all Sunnybrook patients for viewing their personal health information online. The information in MyChart™ is extracted from Sunnybrook's electronic patient record. MyChart™ has been widely adopted by patients and physicians and had 18,873 users as of October 18, 2012.

The authors of this article created a survey for patients who use MyChart™ to help verify and understand the user value, usage patterns and impact of MyChart™ on patients' care. On April 12, 2012, the 11-question online survey was e-mailed to 11,348 active patient accounts. On May 22, 2012, a total of 2,096 of those patients (18%) had responded.

The survey indicates an overwhelming majority of MyChart™ patients (89%) value MyChart™ and its features. Access to test results was patients' highest priority (81%), and although a large proportion wanted immediate access, the majority were comfortable with moderate delays (up to 5 days). Respondents rated access to radiology images and reports as their second-highest priority (61.2%), followed by the feature that enables them to organize and view appointments (35.7%). Survey results also indicate most MyChart™ users identify themselves as occasional users (34.9%) who do not log on daily or weekly to MyChart™. Reasons for using MyChart™ vary from the time of last doctor's visit, degree of uncertainty, sickness, and other reasons.

In terms of sharing information with others, the majority of respondents do not share access to their MyChart™ account with friends or family (59.6%) - however, a slim majority do share access with physicians, providers, or care teams (51.8%). Additionally, respondents expressed minimal interest in future development of social networking and communication features within MyChart™.

The results of this survey provide a better understanding of what information patients want to access and what is valued. In the next stage of research, Sunnybrook hopes to further understand what patients do with this access and whether it has any impact on their health outcomes.

 

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