Technology Access, Technical Assistance, and Disparities in Inpatient Portal Use.

TitleTechnology Access, Technical Assistance, and Disparities in Inpatient Portal Use.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsGrossman LV, Creber RMMasterso, Ancker JS, Ryan B, Polubriaginof F, Qian M, Alarcon I, Restaino S, Bakken S, Hripcsak G, Vawdrey DK
JournalAppl Clin Inform
Date Published2019 Jan

BACKGROUND:  Disadvantaged populations, including minorities and the elderly, use patient portals less often than relatively more advantaged populations. Limited access to and experience with technology contribute to these disparities. Free access to devices, the Internet, and technical assistance may eliminate disparities in portal use.

OBJECTIVE:  To examine predictors of versus portal use among hospitalized patients who received free access to an iPad, the Internet, and technical assistance.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:  This subgroup analysis includes 146 intervention-arm participants from a pragmatic randomized controlled trial of an inpatient portal. The participants received free access to an iPad and inpatient portal while hospitalized on medical and surgical cardiac units, together with hands-on help using them. We used logistic regression to identify characteristics predictive of use.

RESULTS:  More technology experience (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 5.39,  = 0.049), less severe illness (adjusted OR = 2.07,  = 0.077), and private insurance (adjusted OR = 2.25,  = 0.043) predicted use, with a predictive performance (area under the curve) of 65.6%. No significant differences in age, gender, race, ethnicity, level of education, employment status, or patient activation existed between the and users in bivariate analyses. Significantly more users noticed medical errors during their hospital stay.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION:  Portal use was not associated with several sociodemographic characteristics previously found to limit use in the inpatient setting. However, limited technology experience and high illness severity were still barriers to use. Future work should explore additional strategies, such as enrolling health care proxies and improving usability, to reduce potential disparities in portal use.

Alternate JournalAppl Clin Inform
PubMed ID30650448
PubMed Central IDPMC6335107
Health Informatics
Faculty Publication