Understanding cancer patients’ use and perceptions of inpatient portal: A case study at a tertiary hospital in Saudi Arabia

Publication Name

International Journal of Medical Informatics


Background: Inpatient portals have been introduced into tertiary hospitals to meet patients’ information and communication needs, to increase their awareness of health care, and to facilitate their transition after discharge. However, there is inadequate knowledge about hospitalised oncology patients’ use and perceptions of these technologies. Objective: To explore cancer patients’ use and perceptions of an inpatient portal in a tertiary hospital and to identify the main benefits and barriers for patients in using the portal. Method: A qualitative case study was conducted in a tertiary hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Only cancer patients were invited to participate. Twenty-two semi-structured interviews were conducted in the patient's room in a cancer care centre in January 2020. Interviews were audio-recorded, fully transcribed, and analysed using a thematic analysis method. Results: Most patients used the portal for the first time. The most used features were entertainment, watching fall prevention videos and viewing medication lists. Although the majority of patients were positive towards the portal, and considered it to be useful and easy to use, only a small number of them used the key clinical feature of the system such as pain assessment, health education, and discharge preparation. The patients would like to see further improvement in usability of the portal, appropriate user training, adding further information, and incorporating more services and features in the portal. Conclusion: The introduction of the inpatient portal is successful in improving cancer patients’ hospitalisation experience. It helped cancer patients to acquire knowledge about their own health, to actively engage in their care processes, and to request and acquire electronic services, in addition to providing entertainment. Future research on which factors inspire patients’ use of the portal and how the influence is achieved is needed for the successful integration of the portal into the patients’ hospital care process.

Open Access Status

This publication is not available as open access



Article Number


Funding Sponsor

University of Hail



Link to publisher version (DOI)