Nevin Manimala Statistics

Disparities in Patient Portal Engagement Among Patients With Hypertension Treated in Primary Care

JAMA Netw Open. 2024 May 1;7(5):e2411649. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.11649.


IMPORTANCE: Patient portals are increasingly used for patient-clinician communication and to introduce interventions aimed at improving blood pressure control.

OBJECTIVE: To characterize patient portal use among patients with hypertension managed in primary care.

DESIGN, SETTINGS, AND PARTICIPANTS: This retrospective cohort study used electronic health records linked with patient portal log file data from a large, diverse Midwestern health care system. Patients with hypertension who had a primary care visit from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021, were included. The first visit in 2021 was considered the baseline visit; patient portal engagement was evaluated during the following year. Multivariate logistic regressions, presented as odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs, were used to evaluate associations between patient characteristics and patient portal engagement, adjusting for potential confounders.

EXPOSURES: Primary exposures included 4 sociodemographic factors routinely collected in the electronic health record: race and ethnicity, insurance, preferred language, and smoking status.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Indicators of patient engagement with the patient portal included accessing the patient portal at least once, accessing the portal within 7 days of at least 50.0% of primary care physician (PCP) visits, frequent logins (<28 vs ≥28), messaging (<2 vs ≥2), and sharing home blood pressure readings.

RESULTS: Among 366 871 patients (mean [SD], 63.5 [12.6] years), 52.8% were female, 3.4% were Asian, 7.8% were Hispanic, 19.7% were non-Hispanic Black, 66.9% were non-Hispanic White, and 2.3% were of other race or ethnicity. During the 1-year study period starting in 2021, 70.5% accessed the patient portal at least once, 60.2% accessed around the time of their PCP visits, 35.7% accessed the portal frequently, 28.9% engaged in messaging, and 8.7% shared home blood pressure readings. Compared with White patients, non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic patients had lower odds of any access (Black: OR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.52-0.54; Hispanic: OR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.64-0.68), access around PCP visit time (Black: OR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.48-0.50; Hispanic: OR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.60-0.64), frequent access (Black: OR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.55-0.57; Hispanic: OR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.69-0.73), and messaging (Black: OR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.61-0.64); Hispanic: OR, 0.71; 95% CI, 0.69-0.73).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: This cohort study of patients with hypertension found clear sociodemographic disparities in patient portal engagement among those treated in primary care. Without special efforts to engage patients with portals, interventions that use patient portals to target hypertension may exacerbate disparities.

PMID:38748420 | DOI:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.11649

By Nevin Manimala

Portfolio Website for Nevin Manimala