BACKGROUND: Despite the availability of expert guidelines and widespread diabetes quality improvement efforts, care of patients with diabetes remains suboptimal. Two key barriers to care that may be amenable to informatics-based interventions include (1) lack of patient engagement with therapeutic care plans and (2) lack of medication adjustment by physicians ('clinical inertia') during clinical encounters. METHODS: The authors describe the conceptual framework, design, implementation, and analysis plan for a diabetes patient web-portal linked directly to the electronic health record (EHR) of a large academic medical center via secure Internet access designed to overcome barriers to effective diabetes care. RESULTS: Partners HealthCare System (Boston, MA), a multi-hospital health care network comprising several thousand physicians caring for over 1 million individual patients, has developed a comprehensive patient web-portal called Patient Gateway that allows patients to interact directly with their EHR via secure Internet access. Using this portal, a specific diabetes interface was designed to maximize patient engagement by importing the patient's current clinical data in an educational format, providing patient-tailored decision support, and enabling the patient to author a 'Diabetes Care Plan.' The physician view of the patient's Diabetes Care Plan was designed to be concise and to fit into typical EHR clinical workflow. CONCLUSIONS: We successfully designed and implemented a Diabetes Patient portal that allows direct interaction with our system's EHR. We are assessing the impact of this advanced informatics tool for collaborative diabetes care in a clinic-randomized controlled trial among 14 primary care practices within our integrated health care system
Design and implementation of a web-based patient portal linked to an ambulatory care electronic health record: Patient gateway for diabetes collaborative care
Grant, RW., Wald, J., Poon, EG., Schnipper, JL., Gandhi, TK., Volk, LA., & Middleton, B. (2006). Design and implementation of a web-based patient portal linked to an ambulatory care electronic health record: Patient gateway for diabetes collaborative care. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics, 8(5), 576-586.