Only smartphone internet with less use of the patient portal

HealthDay News – According to a research letter published online on JAMA Network Open on July 26th, smartphone-only internet access is associated with reduced patient portal use among some ethnic minorities.

Kea Turner, Ph.D., of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, and colleagues investigated whether smartphone-only Internet access was associated with the use of the patient portal. Data from the Health Information National Trends Survey 2017-2020 was analyzed (8,790 adults).

The researchers found that the number of US citizens with smartphone-only internet access increased significantly from 21.6 percent in 2017 to 31.1 percent in 2020, while the use of patient portals rose from 44.0 percent in the same period 54.8 percent has increased significantly. Non-Hispanic black participants (odds ratio 1.32) and Hispanic participants (odds ratio 1.33) had significantly higher chances of smartphone-only internet access than non-Hispanic white participants. People in the highest income category (≥75,000 USD) had significantly lower chances of pure smartphone internet than people with lower incomes (<20,000 USD; odds ratio 0.57). Pure internet access via smartphone was associated with a significantly lower probability of using the portal compared to access via a wired connection (odds ratio, 0.82).

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“After considering smartphone-only Internet access, some patients (e.g., those on lower incomes) were still less likely to use portals, suggesting that multimodal strategies are needed to bridge the digital divide,” the authors write.

One author revealed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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