The retrospective cohort study involved some 44,000 users of Kaiser Permanente Colorado‘s MyHealthManager who were matched to members who did not establish accounts. Matching was based on members’ history of office visits.
Compared with nonusers, users had an increased rate of office visits in the year following activation of their MyHealthManager account, a difference of 0.7 per member per year. Similarly, telephone encounters, after-hours clinic visits, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations all rose significantly. Among patients with coronary artery disease, use of services did not increase.
Editorialists call the findings “sobering for patient portal enthusiasts.” They speculate that the reason for the discrepancy between this and earlier studies may have to do with regional differences in healthcare delivery.