Usability of a Patient Portal and Patient-Perceived Errors in Electronic Health Records: A Survey Study

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Perustieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
Human-Computer Interaction
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Master’s Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences
Patient portals provide access to electronic health records (EHRs) for better en-gaging patients in healthcare services. Patient portals’ usability is important as it directly impacts patients’ experience and acceptance of the portals. Thus, evaluat-ing patient portal usability could help improve the healthcare service quality and patients’ experience. Meanwhile, errors are commonly perceived in EHRs, could lead to further serious problems, and might also negatively influence patients’ evaluation of patient portal usability. However, errors in EHRs have rarely been examined. We aimed to evaluate the subjective usability of a national patient portal, patient-perceived errors in their EHRs, and how their perceptions might be associated with patients’ assessment of patient portal usability. Data were collected from 4719 users of the Finnish national patient portal My Kanta via a three-week online survey in Jan and Feb 2021. Respondents were asked to rate the usability of the patient portal in Likert-scale scores and the average ratings were converted to the System Usability Scale scores for comparison. They were also asked about perceptions of errors and omissions in the records and to rate the seriousness of the most important ones. The average usability scores were then compared and tested. The overall My Kanta usability was evaluated by patients as good (System Usability Scale score: mean 74.3, SD 14.0). Of all these participants, 1664 (35.3%) reported perceiving at least one error in the electronic health records and 200 (14.0%) described the error(s) as very serious. The average usability rating from patients who have perceived errors in EHRs was tested statistically significantly lower than those who haven’t. In conclusion, the usability of My Kanta patient portal was acceptable, but could still be improved. Errors have been perceived in EHRs on My Kanta, could negatively impact users’ assessment of the patient portal usability, and should be reduced for improving user safety and experience.
Kujala, Sari
Thesis advisor
Hörhammer, Iiris
patient portals, EHR, electronic health record, usability, patient access, error
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