Developing a patient portal for haematology patients requires involvement of all stakeholders and a customised design, tailored to the individual needs

Paul A. F. Geerts*, Trudy van der Weijden, Pien G. M. Loeffen, Lise E. F. Janssen, Celine Almekinders, Tobias A. Wienhold, Gerard M. J. Bos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BackgroundElectronic patient portals are increasingly being implemented, also in (haemato) oncology. However, portal usage is low and depends on user and provider engagement. We explored wishes, expectations and thoughts of patients with a haematologic malignancy and their physicians with regard to the electronic patient portal.MethodsBased on insights from literature and a focus group discussion we built a 44-item questionnaire. This questionnaire was spread amongst patients with a haematologic malignancy at the outpatient clinic that was not yet exposed to patient portal facilities. Haematologists completed a questionnaire based on literature.ResultsPatients were interested in many different types of access to information and portal functionalities. However, their opinions varied about the provision of access to the portal to other people, the role of the physician, possibilities for communication via the portal and timing of access. The physicians acknowledged the relevance of the electronic patient portal, but had some worries about the patients' autonomous information handling, organizational and technical issues. Patients frequently expressed to be open about the potential of the patient portal to orchestrate their care. Nevertheless, most physicians appreciated their supporting role towards the patient.ConclusionsPatients and physicians appreciated the electronic patient portal. Both groups need to be involved in further portal development to improve engagement by meeting patients' wishes, taking into account organizational and professional issues and managing expectations for both parties. To fit various patient profiles, portal design should be flexible and individualized. Further research should focus on the perceived added value and the impact on patient related outcome measures of portals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2019


  • Patient portals
  • Telemedicine
  • Haematologic neoplasms
  • Haematology
  • Neoplasms

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