Utilization of an Electronic Patient Portal Following Total Joint Arthroplasty Does Not Decrease Readmissions.
BACKGROUND: At the investigating institution, an electronic messaging portal (MyChart) allows patients to directly communicate with their healthcare provider. As reimbursement models evolve, there is an increasing effort to decrease 90-day hospital resource utilization and patient returns, and secure messaging portals have been proposed as one way to achieve this goal. We sought to determine which patients utilize this portal, and to determine the impact of secure messaging on emergency department (ED) visits and readmissions within 90 days postoperatively. METHODS: The institutional database was used to analyze 6426 procedures including 3297 primary total knee and 3129 primary total hip arthroplasties. Patient demographics, comorbidities, and secure communication activity status were recorded. Subsequently, statistical analysis was performed to determine which patients utilized MyChart, as well as to correlate patient outcomes to the utilization of secure messaging portals. RESULTS: Active MyChart users were significantly more likely to be young, healthy (American Society of Anesthesiologists 1 or 2), Caucasian, married, employed, have private insurance, and be discharged to home. Decreased utilization was seen in patients who were unhealthy (American Society of Anesthesiologists 3 or 4), were African American, unmarried, unemployed, had Medicare or Medicaid insurance, and were discharged to a skilled nursing facility; these characteristics were also independent significant risks for returning to the ED. Active MyChart status was not significantly associated with 90-day ED return (P = .781) or readmission (P = .512). However, if multiple messages to providers were sent, and the provider response rate was <75%, patients had significantly more readmissions (P = .004). CONCLUSION: Primary total joint arthroplasty patients who were at high risk for ED returns were less likely to utilize MyChart. However, MyChart use did not decrease the 90-day rate of return to the ED or readmissions. A low provider response rate to the secure messages may lead to increased resource utilization in patients using secure messaging as their preferred communication tool. Alternative means of communication with the most vulnerable patients must be investigated to effectively decrease postoperative complications and resource utilization.
Plate, JF; Ryan, SP; Bergen, MA; Hong, CS; Attarian, DE; Seyler, TM
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