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Poll: Majority of parents do not use patient portals for children

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According to the report, 34% of parents are using patient portals for advice regarding their child’s illness.

Poll: Majority of parents do not use patient portals for children | Image Credit: © Studio Romantic - © Studio Romantic - stock.adobe.com.

Poll: Majority of parents do not use patient portals for children | Image Credit: © Studio Romantic - © Studio Romantic - stock.adobe.com.

When it comes to online communication between parents and health care professionals, less than half (43%) of parents use a patient portal, according to results from a recent C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

The poll asked a national sample of parents about patient portal usage for their children aged 0 to 18 years, over the previous 3 years. Administered in February of 2023, the poll was completed by 2095 parents, of which 31% said they saw no need for a patient portal. A lack of knowledge regarding patient portals played a role in the poll, as 25% of parents reported they didn’t know it needed to be set up. Twenty-one percent said portals are not an option with their child’s current provider, while 16% stated they prefer other forms of communication to patient portals. Privacy concerns (6%) and technical issues (3%) were also reasons survey participants did not use patient portals.

Most parents who do use a portal for their child’s health needs, do so to help facilitate scheduling and to fill out forms. Of parents using portals, 57% utilize them to schedule appointments, 68% said they use portals for completing pre-visit forms, and 65% to view their child’s test results. Twenty-two percent of parents reported portal use for telehealth visits, 25% request prescriptions refills, 12% request referrals. According to the report, 34% of parents are using patient portals for advice regarding their child’s injury, illness, or their respective symptoms. Of those that do access advice for these reasons 91% said “they got the level of advice they expected,” and 94% stated they received that advice in the expected amount of time.

Patient portal instruction and guidance from the health care provider was reported by 59% of parents in the poll. Eighty-five percent of parents instructed how to interact with the portal said they knew what questions can be handled by the device, while 87% it saves time and hassle after receiving instruction, compared to 78% of parents that agreed without health care provider instruction. Respectively, 68% of parents with no training stated they knew what sort of questions can be handled by the portal.

For parents with a portal and a teenager, 31% said they have “noticed differences, such as limits on what parents can see or do (19%), messages that the teen needs to authorize parents to see information (16%) or set up a separate portal log-in (9%), and requests for the teen (not parent) to provide information (9%).” Nearly 75% of parents believe they should have access through 18 years of age, while 11% and 16% of parents feel 12 to 15 years or 16 to 17 years are ages deemed appropriate to limit parental access to teenagers’ portals, respectively.

Reference:

Making the most of your child’s patient portal. C.S. Mott Children’s National Poll on Children’s Health. July 17, 2023. Accessed July 17, 2023. https://mottpoll.org/reports/making-most-your-childs-patient-portal

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