Capturing a Patient-Reported Measure of Physical Function Through an Online Electronic Health Record Patient Portal in an Ambulatory Clinic: Implementation Study

JMIR Med Inform. 2018 May 9;6(2):e31. doi: 10.2196/medinform.8687.


Background: Despite significant interest in the collection of patient-reported outcomes to make care more patient-centered, few studies have evaluated implementation efforts to collect patient-reported outcomes from diverse patient populations.

Objective: We assessed the collection of patient-reported outcomes from rheumatoid arthritis patients in an academic rheumatology clinic, using a paper and an online form through the electronic health record patient portal.

Methods: We identified patients seen between 2012-2016 with ≥2 face-to-face encounters with a rheumatology provider and International Classification of Diseases codes for RA, ≥30 days apart. In 2013, our clinic implemented a paper version of the Patient Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS) physical function form that was administered to patients upon their check-in at the clinic. In 2015, an online version of the form became available by way of the electronic health record patient portal to patients with active portal accounts. We compared the proportion of visits with documented PROMIS scores across age, race and ethnicity, and language and examined trends over time using a control chart.

Results: We included 1078 patients with rheumatoid arthritis with 7049 in-person encounters at the rheumatology clinic over 4 years, with an average of 168 visits per month. Of the included patients, 80.4% of patients (867/1078) were female and the mean age was 58 (SD 16) years. The overall PROMIS physical function score documentation increased from 60.4% (1081/1791) of visits in 2013 to 74.4% (905/1217) of visits in 2016. Online score documentation increased from 10.0% (148/1473) in 2015 to 19.3% (235/1217) in 2016. African American patients were least likely to have a PROMIS physical function score recorded (55/88, 62.5% compared to 792/990, 80.0% for other racial or ethnic groups; P<.001). Compared with white patients, both African American and Hispanic patients were less likely to have active online electronic health record portal accounts (44/88, 50% and 90/157, 57.3% respectively, compared to 437/521, 83.9% of white patients; P<.001) and, once activated, less likely to use the online survey (6/44, 13.6% and 16/90, 17.8% respectively, compared to 135/437, 30.9% of white patients; P=.02). There was no significant difference in the proportion of any PROMIS physical function forms recorded between non-English vs English preferred patients. No significant differences were found across age or gender.

Conclusions: PROMIS physical function form completion improved overall from 2012-2016 but lagged among racial and ethnic minorities and non-English preferred patients. Future studies should address issues of portal access, enrollment, satisfaction, and persistence and focus on developing PRO implementation strategies that accommodate the needs and preferences of diverse populations.

Keywords: electronic health record; patient-reported outcomes; rheumatoid arthritis.