The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT examined the National Cancer Institute’s most recent annual Health Information Trends Survey to identify racial and ethnic disparities in patient portal availability, access, and use.
Why It Matters
NCI’s National Trends in Health Information Since 2003 The survey collected nationally representative data on the U.S. public’s knowledge, attitudes, and use of health-related information in an effort to develop more effective health communication strategies among diverse population groups.
The overall increase in patient portal engagement is encouraging, but study co-author Chelsea Richwine, an economist with the ONC Office of Technology, summarized the findings in a HealthITbuzz blog post on Thursday , previous research has identified persistent disparities in patient access to and use of online medical records.
Published in Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association , Richwine and colleagues Christian Johnson and Vaishali Patel The ONC study found that in 2019 and 2020, “Black and Hispanic individuals were significantly less likely to report being offered and subsequently visiting their portal.”
Black and Hispanics were not offered (5.2 percentage points less likely) and visited the patient portal almost as infrequently as whites (7.9 percentage points less likely).
Racial and ethnic disparities persisted after accounting for other patient participation factors such as age, sex, education or health status, Richwine said.
However, when access is provided, the difference is greatly reduced. According to the JAMIA summary, “individuals who provided a portal and encouraged their suppliers to use it” were “21 percentage points more likely to access it.”
and, “Black and Hispanic individuals People who were offered and accessed the portal were 12 percentage points more likely than whites to use the portal to download or transmit information.”
The information blocking rules now in effect expand the categories and types of data healthcare organizations can expect under the 21st Century Cures Act, and there are still many misconceptions about data requirements and how to comply.
While individuals have expressed concerns about privacy, most patients expect their medical records to be readily available. Many said they would like to have their health data downloaded to their mobile devices.
Richwine said that to reap the full benefits of policies that increase access to electronic health information, the industry must establish best practices for information sharing, mitigate patient privacy and security concerns, and address issues related to access Related use disabilities.
for the record )
“In general, our research The results show that healthcare providers play an important role in increasing access to EHI by providing the portal and encouraging its use,” Richwine said in her blog.
Andrea Fox is Senior Editor for Healthcare IT News. Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.