As patient portal use and access become more commonplace in healthcare, it would be prudent for health IT leaders and clinicians alike to understand the health disparities that can also emerge with patient portal use.
The latest data shows that patient portal offerings are near universal. 2019 data from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT showed that 99 percent of large hospitals and 97 percent of all hospitals in aggregate offer patient portal access to patients. That is the most recent year for which ONC has data.
But that patient portal access and use isn’t seen uniformly across patient populations. Like other aspects of medicine, patient portal use sees health disparities, and that’s largely because of inequities in access. In other words, not every patient has the same opportunity to make the most out of patient portal access.
Below, PatientEngagementHIT explores some of the most common social determinants of health affecting patient portal use and adoption. This list is not exhaustive but represents some of the broadest SDOH categories influencing health IT use.