Effects of adult patient portals on patient empowerment and health-related outcomes: A systematic review

9 November, 2019

Citation and abstract below.

CITATION: Ammenwerth E, Hoerbst A, Lannig S, Mueller G, Siebert U, Schnell-Inderst P. Effects of adult patient portals on patient empowerment and health-related outcomes: A systematic review. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics. 2019;264:1106-1110.



Patient portals are offered by health care organizations to facilitate health information sharing and patient empowerment and support patient-centered care. The aim of this systematic review is to assess the effect of patient portals on patient empowerment and health-related outcomes. After a systematic literature search, ten randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included in this review. Of these, seven RCTs were conducted in the United States., two in Canada, and one in Japan. Study characteristics, risk of bias, and outcomes were extracted. varied in terms of intervention, included patients, and outcome. Most studies found no or only a small, clinically non-relevant effect of patient portals. The review showed that future research should develop a taxonomy to describe patient portal functionalities to facilitate the aggregation of evidence.

Comment (Neil PW): It is regrettable that the paper is restricted-access. Thinking aloud, I wonder if there is a case for WAME, the World Association of Medical Editors, to encourage authors and publishers to make some (all?) research free- or open-access? Perhaps it is especially important that systematic reviews should be open access? What do you think?

The authors are on ResearchGate and I have put in a direct request to them for the full text (in my experience this is successful in only about 10% of cases).

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Access to Health Research - Supported by The Lancet and Elsevier


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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org