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Shorter Hospital Stays Associated with Patient Portal Use

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A new study found patients with active patient portal accounts had hospital stays an average of one half to one full day shorter than patients without.  Patients who are more engaged in their healthcare often have better outcomes. Patient portal use is one marker of engagement.

For this study, published by Epic Health Research Network, researchers tested whether access to a patient portal correlated with hospital length of stay for certain conditions. They looked at two different types of admissions: admissions for new illness (COVID-19) and admissions for chronic illness (heart failure). Patients who were hospitalized for either COVID-19 or heart failure were more likely to have shorter hospital stays if they had an active patient portal account.

Researchers analyzed data from Cosmos, a HIPAA-defined Limited Data Set of more than 120 million patients from 141 Epic organizations including 832 hospitals and 13,421 clinics, serving patients in all 50 states. This study was completed by two teams, composed of clinicians and data scientists, that independently acquired and analyzed data. Both teams were involved in the interpretation of results and drafting of this brief. Overall, the two teams came to similar conclusions.

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