Healthcare professionals' experiences of patient-professional communication over patient portals: A systematic review of qualitative studies (Preprint) [post]

Elina Laukka, Moona Huhtakangas, Tarja Heponiemi, Sari Kujala, Anu-Marja Kaihlanen, Kia Gluschkoff, Outi Kanste
2020 unpublished
BACKGROUND The popularity of online patient-professional communication over patient portals is constantly increasing. Good patient-professional communication is a prerequisite for high-quality care and patient-centeredness. Understanding healthcare professionals' experiences of online patient-professional communication is important since they play a key role in engaging patients to use portals. More information is needed on how patient-professional communication could be support-ed by patient
more » ... rtals in healthcare. OBJECTIVE This systematic review of qualitative studies aims to identify how healthcare professionals experience online patient-professional communication over the patient portals. METHODS Abstract and full-text reviews were conducted by two reviewers independently. Four databases were utilized for the study: CINAHL (EBSCO), ProQuest (ABI/INFORM), Scopus, and PubMed. The inclusion criteria for the reviewed studies were: 1) the examination of healthcare professionals' experiences, 2) reciprocal communication between patients and healthcare professionals, 3) peer-reviewed scientific articles, and 4) publication between 2010–2019. The Joanna Briggs Institute´s quality assessment criteria were used in the review process. Thirteen (n=13) included studies were analyzed using a thematic synthesis, which was conducted by three reviewers. RESULTS Six analytical themes were identified concerning healthcare professionals' experiences of online patient-professional communication. The themes were related to 1) the healthcare professionals' work; 2) the change in communication over the patient portals; 3) the patients' use of patient portals; 4) the suitability of patient portals for communication; 5) the convenience of the patient portals for communication; and 6) change in roles. CONCLUSIONS Healthcare professionals' experiences contain both positive and negative insights into online patient-professional communication over patient portals. Most commonly the positive experiences seem to be related to the patients and patient outcomes, such as having better patient engagement. Healthcare professionals also have negative experiences, for example, that online-patient professional communication sometimes has deficiencies and has a negative impact on their workload. These negative experiences may be explained by the poor functionality of the patient portals, and insufficient training and resources. To lessen healthcare professionals' negative experiences of online patient-professional communication, their experiences should be taken into account by policy makers, healthcare organizations and IT enterprises when developing patient portals. Additionally, more training regarding online patient-professional communication and patient portals should be provided for healthcare professionals.
doi:10.2196/preprints.21623 fatcat:yfeyojhcujgvriow5e2pd5cubu