Background: Patient portal use has been associated with improved patient experience, safety, and health outcomes.1,2 To keep patients better connected to their providers, our institution aimed to expand MyChart utilization. We piloted a standard operating procedure (SOP) to enhance MyChart education and uptake among those admitted to an inpatient general medicine unit.
Purpose: Our intervention occurred from May through October 2021 on a 32-bed house staff-run general medicine unit. We implemented checklists to coordinate the duties of nurses and physicians in delivering tailored MyChart education. To serve as visual cues for care team members, the checklists were color-coded and hung at patient bedsides. Patients were stratified based on their MyChart status on admission (Active vs. Inactive) and their ability to use MyChart independently (Independent vs. Dependent) (Fig 1A). Patients unable to use MyChart independently were asked if a caregiver could set up MyChart proxy access. Night-shift nurses assigned patients one of four color-coded categories (Fig 1B). Nurses also (1) described the utility of MyChart to patients in the green, yellow, and red categories, (2) helped patients in the yellow category sign up for MyChart, and (3) recommended text-message push notifications to patients in the green and yellow categories.Day shift nurses prioritized patients in the orange category, leveraging visiting hours as a touchpoint with the patient’s caregiver proxy. At time of discharge, physicians reiterated how MyChart improves the patient experience by providing real-time access to test results, ease of scheduling follow-up appointments, and quick communication with providers.Nurses on the unit with the SOP intervention as well as nurses on a different general medicine unit without the intervention were anonymously and voluntarily surveyed to assess their approach to patient MyChart education.
Description: 87.6% (n=16) of nurses participating in the SOP either agreed or strongly agreed that MyChart education was helpful for patients and 43.8% (n= 16) of nurses reported helping a patient or caregiver sign up for MyChart. On a separate medicine unit without the SOP, only 57.9% (n= 19) of nurses agreed that MyChart education was helpful and only 31.6% (n= 19) helped a patient enroll in MyChart (Fig. 2).
Conclusions: Our results suggest the SOP was associated with a change in nurses’ attitude towards MyChart education, but more can still be done to increase the number of patients enrolling in MyChart. As these results suggest a promising first step in improving patient outcomes and safety measures through increased MyChart uptake, perhaps moving forward, members of the care team could be incentivized to follow the SOP through prompted Epic alerts checking for compliance.