Lessons learned launching an engaging patient portal: an exploratory case study examining the launch and integration of the patient portal into the continuum of care for substance use treatment

Michael J. Tkach, Janelle Wesloh


When viewed from a chronic disease model, there is support for long-term engagement in care for the treatment of substance use disorders. In contrast, average length of stay in substance use treatment continues to shorten. Additionally, patients are from diverse geographical locations and often have barriers to engagement in after-care programming to help support gains made through treatment. Patient portals offer a unique opportunity to help increase engagement and the support provided to patients; however, there are unique obstacles to the launch, maintenance, and utilization of these technologies. The authors of this paper present a review of identified obstacles and considerations and then present a case study of the launch and modification of the MyRecoveryCompass patient portal and MORE® curriculum used by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation as a way to help inform other treatment providers about lessons learned from launching an integrated patient portal.