HealthDay News — Nearly two-thirds of insured adults with a previous health care visit did not use an online patient portal in 2017, according to a study published in the December issue of Health Affairs.

Denise L. Anthony, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues analyzed data from the 2017 Health Information National Trends Survey (2,325 insured respondents) to examine the patient characteristics of portal nonusers and the reasons patients gave for nonuse.

The researchers found that 63 percent of patients reported not using a portal during the previous year. Compared with users of portals, nonusers were more likely to be male, be covered by Medicaid, lack a regular provider, and have less than a college education. Nonwhites less likely to report being offered access. Patients cited a desire to speak directly to providers and privacy concerns as reasons for not using portals.

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“Because online patient engagement yields important benefits, it is vital to continue to monitor access to patient portals and related technologies, particularly for disadvantaged groups,” the authors write.

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