A game changer
Patient portals have become a game-changer for people who want easy access to their electronic health info, direct communication with healthcare providers, and greater control over their care. A recent study by the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging dug into the usage and experiences of patient portals among adults aged 50-80, and it revealed some interesting findings.
A significant jump in adoption
According to the study, 78% of respondents in this age group reported having at least one patient portal - a significant jump in adoption. But there are still some disparities at play here. It turns out that non-Hispanic White older adults and those with higher incomes are more likely to be portal users.
Now, here's the exciting part. Over half of the portal users (55%) said they've been actively using it within the past month. But there's a catch. While most users felt confident logging in, navigating, and contacting their healthcare providers through the portal, those with poorer physical and mental health had lower confidence levels. We want everyone to benefit from these portals, regardless of their health status.
Portals vs. phone calls
Another intriguing finding is that older adults have some preferences when it comes to using portals versus picking up the phone. Portals are the go-to for checking test results, updating contact info, and giving others access to their medical records. Interestingly enough, when it comes to requesting referrals, making appointments, or asking medical questions, the good old phone call still reigns supreme.
The potential to boost engagement
All of that is to say, patient portals have incredible potential to boost patient engagement and treatment adherence, leading to better health outcomes. But we need to address the disparities in usage and comfort levels among different groups. Making sure older adults, especially those with lower incomes and poorer health, feel comfortable and confident using portals should be a priority. Educating people about the benefits and privacy protections of these tools is key.
At Unio, we recognize the potential of patient portals. With our innovative platform, we aim to address the disparities in usage and comfort levels among different groups, ensuring that all individuals can benefit from easy access to their electronic health information and direct communication with their healthcare providers.
So let's keep pushing for equal access, better education, and improved utilization of patient portals. Together, we can bridge the gap and make sure these tools truly empower and improve the health of all patients.