Study: Patient Portal Use To Shoot Up 221 Percent

Posted on October 7, 2013 I Written By

Anne Zieger is veteran healthcare consultant and analyst with 20 years of industry experience. Zieger formerly served as editor-in-chief of and her commentaries have appeared in dozens of international business publications, including Forbes, Business Week and Information Week. She has also contributed content to hundreds of healthcare and health IT organizations, including several Fortune 500 companies. Contact her at @ziegerhealth on Twitter or visit her site at Zieger Healthcare.

The US patient portal market should grow at a blazing clip over the next few years, according to a new report by research firm Frost & Sullivan.

The new study, U.S. Patient Portal Market for Hospitals and Physicians: Overview and Outlook, 2012- 2017, concludes that the total US patient portal market for hospitals and physicians generated revenue of just $279.8 million in 2012. By 2017, however, the US patient portal market should reach $898.4 million, representing a 221.1 percent increase in revenue generated.

Growth in portal use is being fueled partly by the easy availability of such technology. About 50 percent of US hospitals and 40 percent of US physicians in ambulatory practice own some type of patient portal technology, researchers say, mostly acquired as a module of their EMR or practice management system. Frost & Sullivan dub this generation of portals ” Patient Portal 1.0.”

The report notes that providers are using the current generation of patient portals for efforts around patient engagement, such as access to medical records, communication with providers and e-visits.

For example, three large health systems recently completed a study in which roughly 4,000 patients were given access not only to their medical records but also their doctors’ notes via a patient portal.  Despite having privacy concerns, 99 percent of patients involved in the study wanted continued access to physician notes by a portal.

But the growth in patient portal use will be driven by other factors as well. Researchers say increased portal deployment will be driven by several factors, including the need to meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements and growing consumer demand for health IT options.

Soon, providers will need more advanced technology to meet the goals they have for patient portals, said Frost & Sullivan Connected Health Principal Analyst Nancy Fabozzi in a company statement.

“As healthcare reform and transformation advances, providers will seek new ways to engage patients and influence behavior beyond the point of care,” Fabozzi said. “These solutions, which can be considered “Patient Portal 2.0,” will have robust functions such as health information exchange across diverse care settings, integration of clinical and financial data, dynamic scheduling, social networking, gaming, avatars for personalized health coaching and e-visits.”