Racial and ethnic minority patients are far less likely than whites to adopt an online personal health record to access and coordinate their health information, according to a study published in the March 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Major 'digital divide' seen in PHR use
The study is the latest of many to point to a "digital divide," the term used to describe the disparity in access to the Internet and other forms of technology.
Researchers examined the PHR adoption patterns of more than 75,000 patients at Partners HealthCare, Boston, during a 33-month period. They determined that blacks and Hispanics were half as likely as whites to adopt a PHR. They also found that high-income patients were 14% more likely to adopt a PHR than their low-income counterparts.
Despite those gaps, once minority and low-income patients adopted PHRs, they used them at close to the same or the same rate as other groups, according to the study.
"Once patients had adopted the PHR, race/ethnicity was much less strongly associated with the number of log-ins, and (socioeconomic status) had no association, suggesting that the key target for bridging the digital divide may be at the adoption level,” the researchers wrote.
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