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An Opportunity to Engage Hospitalized Patients and Caregivers Using Inpatient Portals

Kelly, Michelle M., MD*,†; Hoonakker, Peter L.T., PhD; Coller, Ryan J., MD, MPH*

doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001043
Patient-Centered Care

Background: Inpatient portals are online patient portals linked to electronic health records that provide hospitalized patients and caregivers secure access to real-time clinical information and tools to enhance their communication with providers and hospital experience.

Objective: The main objective of this commentary was to provide a perspective that inpatient portals are innovative tools poised to engage patients and caregivers during hospitalization and, thus, enhance patient-centered care.

Results: Inpatient portals are desired by patients and caregivers and may contribute to improved recognition of their inpatient care team, knowledge of their treatment plan and overall inpatient experience. A sociotechnical systems approach is recommended to mitigate potential unintended consequences of inpatient portal use and support effective portal design, implementation and evaluation.

Conclusions: This article highlights the potential of using inpatient portals to engage hospitalized patients and caregivers and proposes next steps to evaluate this emerging technology.

*Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health

Center for Quality and Productivity Improvement, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

This publication was supported by the Clinical and Translational Science Award program through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, grant UL1TR000427. P.L.T.H. involvement was also partially supported by the National Science Foundation, grant CMMI 1536987. Funding sources were not involved in study design, analysis or interpretation of data.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Michelle M. Kelly, MD, H4/419 CSC, 600 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53792. E-mail:

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.