Abstract for: Unlocking the promise of patient engagement: the dynamics of patient portal adoption

This paper considers the impact that the active involvement of patients in their health—often referred to as patient engagement—has on health and financial outcomes. The challenge is how best to identify and adopt successful engagement strategies that encourage patients to adopt interventions, attitudes and behaviors that can support their care needs. Many providers consider patient portals—healthcare-related online applications that allow patients to interact and communicate with their healthcare providers—as a key component of their engagement strategy. We develop a system dynamics model of the adoption of portals by patients and providers that quantifies how adoption patterns create costs and benefits for the organization. Our approach builds on existing studies by providing an integrated framework to explain different trajectories of portal adoption. We provide initial insights into diffusion of patient portal use and conclude with a discussion of the potential for engagement in outcome-based health care payment models, such as Accountable Care Organizations.