Study: White patients more likely than minorities to use web portals

Patients of different ethnic backgrounds tend to use different technologies to access their medical records online, according to a study published in The American Journal of Managed Care.

For the study, the researchers analyzed patient portal data from 318,700 adults who received care at an unnamed health system. More than half of the patients — 56 percent — used the portal. From these participants, the researchers sought to identify if portal use varied based on ethnic background.

Overall, 62 percent of patients solely used a desktop or laptop to access their portal, while 6 percent solely used a mobile device. Thirty-two percent indicated they used both personal computers and mobile devices.

Black, Hispanic and Asian patients had significantly lower odds of overall portal use than white patients, according to the researchers. However, Black and Hispanic patients were significantly more likely to use mobile devices to access their portal when compared to white patients.

The researchers suggested increasing rates of mobile device ownership among ethnic minorities might lead to improvements in portal use. "Mobile device use may represent an opportunity for healthcare organizations to further engage black and Hispanic enrollees in online patient portal use," the study authors concluded.

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