Online Program

Challenges to the adoption of patient portals in marginalized Latino populations

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Reem Ghaddar, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Suad F. Ghaddar, PhD, South Texas Border Health Disparities Center, The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX
Liza Talavera-Garza, PhD, South Texas Border Health Disparities Center, The University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, TX
Background: The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act promotes the adoption of health information technologies (HIT) as a tool to improve individual and population health. Little is known about HIT adoption in marginalized populations.

Purpose: To explore knowledge and attitudes toward patient portals by diabetes patients at a community health clinic along the Texas-Mexico border.  

Methods: An in-person survey asked about sociodemographics, health literacy measures, and patient portal knowledge and attitudes. Interviewers also asked patients to complete a task on the clinic’s planned portal to assess website navigation skills. Correlational analysis was conducted to explore the relationship between interest in using portal and ehealth literacy. Content analysis of interviewer observations was completed to identify themes describing portal navigation.

Results: Forty-seven diabetes patients completed the surveys (91% Hispanic, 77% female, 47% with incomes <$10,000). Only 49% had a computer/laptop, 55% had Internet access at home, and 53% were current Internet users. A quarter did not know how to use a computer. Correlational analysis showed positive associations between ehealth literacy and interest in using portal (p<.05). Analysis of interviewer observations revealed (1) interest in patient portals, (2) need for demonstration, and (3) challenges including lack of computer knowledge, vision problems, and privacy/security concerns. 

Conclusion: Marginalized populations present a unique challenge to the adoption of HIT and place healthcare providers at a disadvantage when meeting “meaningful use” measures, which require an engaged, health-literate patient population. Policies should support practice settings serving marginalized communities through additional resources and health education efforts.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics

Learning Objectives:
Identify the challenges to HIT adoption in marginalized populations Discuss potential strategies to promoting HIT adoption in marginalized populations

Keyword(s): Technology, Underserved Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I led the research design and data collection efforts.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.