Patient portal use varies among seniors

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When it comes to accessing and using patient portals, not all seniors do so equally.

Researchers conducted a study of patient portal usage by seniors between 65 and 79 years old who were members in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health plan. Results were published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

They found adults between 70 and 79 were significantly less likely to be registered to use the patient portal than adults between 65 and 69 years old.

Across all age groups black, Latino and Filipino seniors were significantly less likely than non-Hispanic whites and Chinese seniors to be registered to use the portal. Additionally, black, Latino and Filipino adults ages 75 and older were significantly less likely to own digital devices and use the Internet than non-Hispanic whites, Chinese and seniors between 65 and 69.

Researchers conclude health plans, government agencies and other organizations should factor in these social determinants of health when monitoring eHealth trends.

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