Most patients wary, unaware of benefits of using health portals

By | December 4, 2018
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illustration of computer monitor with health care worker

(Kaitlyn Bukema, Michigan News)

Two-thirds of patients who visited a doctor in 2017 did not use a health portal that could help improve their health in the long run, according to a new study by U-M. Health portals—secure online websites that give patients 24-hour access to health information—can enhance patients’ engagement in their own health, said lead author Denise Anthony, professor of health management and policy at U-M’s School of Public Health.

“They ask more questions of doctors, they become more engaged in knowing about and keeping themselves healthy,” she said. “Given these benefits, we wanted to look at who isn’t using a patient portal. To make sure these technologies benefit all people, we first have to find out who is and is not using them.” Researchers used data from the nationally representative 2017 Health Information National Trends Survey, limiting the study to those who had insurance and who had seen a doctor in the past 12 months.