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The Conversation Continues: Patient Portals and the Digital Divide

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On the Informatics for Consumer Health Blog, Dr. Urmimala Sarkar summarizes her research about a widening digital divide for populations with limited education, health literacy or in certain ethnic/minority groups.'  Sarkar and her colleagues examined data for more than 14,000 English-speaking adults with diabetes enrolled in Kaiser Permanente (KP) health plans and assessed their use of KP's patient portal.'  The research found that African-Americans, Latinos and individuals with limited education or health literacy were less likely to sign up or use an internet-based patient portal. ' Sarkar added, 'This is particularly worrisome because the patients less likely to use the patient portal are those who are already known to have worse diabetes outcomes.'

In Pothole Forming Ahead: Aging and the Migration of Health Services and Information Online, CFAH President Jessie Gruman highlights the continual oversight of age-related limitations in the development of online services.'  She reminds us that as baby boomers get older these oversights will increasingly drain and harm our health care system.

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Health Information Technology   CFAH Staff   Inside Healthcare  


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