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Patient Portal Adoption Hinges on Unique Demographic Barriers

Medical Team Looking at Xray Medical Team

An article in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine indicates that patient portal adoption among the 36,549 patients offered access at the OCHIN practice-based research network revealed unique demographic identifiers that signal lower portal adoption. Specifically, the researchers found that patients who were male, non-white, Hispanic, Spanish-speaking, and lower-income were less likely to adopt patient portals than their female, white, and higher-income cohorts. A Spanish version of the portal was launched at the time of the study, but no data from that version was included in this study. Uninsured patients or those insured through Medicare or Medicaid were also less likely to adopt patient portals than patients with private insurance. The bright spot in this study was that when the uninsured or publicly insured patients did sign up for the portal, they were more likely to engage with online features of the portal. Medical jargon in the portals was a point of frustration with patients, along with an inability to load up their picture and data to the online tools, and lack of direct messaging with providers.