Benchmarking usability of patient portals in Estonia, Finland, Norway, and Sweden

Sari Kujala*, Saija Simola, Bo Wang, Hedvig Soone, Josefin Hagström, Annika Bärkås, Iiris Hörhammer, Åsa Cajander, Asbjørn Johansen Fagerlund, Bridget Kane, Anna Kharko, Eli Kristiansen, Jonas Moll, Hanife Rexphepi, Maria Hägglund, Monika Alise Johansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Introduction

Poor usability is a barrier to widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHR). Providing good usability is especially challenging in the health care context, as there is a wide variety of patient users. Usability benchmarking is an approach for improving usability by evaluating and comparing the strength and weaknesses of systems. The main purpose of this study is to benchmark usability of patient portals across countries.

Methods

A mixed-methods survey approach was applied to benchmark the national patient portals offering patient access to EHR in Estonia, Finland, Norway, and Sweden. These Nordic countries have similar public healthcare systems, and they are pioneers in offering patients access to EHR for several years. In a survey of 29,334 patients, both patients’ quantitative ratings of usability and their qualitative descriptions of very positive and very negative peak experiences of portal use were collected.

Results

The usability scores ranged from good to fair level of usability. The narratives of very positive and very negative experiences included the benefits of the patient portals and experienced usability issues. The regression analysis of results showed that very positive and negative experiences of patient portal use explain 19–35% of the variation of usability scores in the four countries. The percentage of patients who reported very positive or very negative experiences in each country was unrelated to the usability scores across countries.

Conclusions

The survey approach could be used to evaluate usability with a wide variety of users and it supported learning from comparison across the countries. The combination of quantitative and qualitative data provided an approximation of the level of the perceived usability, and identified usability issues to be improved and useful features that patients appreciate. Further work is needed to improve the comparability of the varied samples across countries.
Original languageEnglish
Article number105302
JournalInternational Journal of Medical Informatics
Volume181
Early online date26 Nov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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