Fewer Than Half of Parents Use a Patient Portal for Their Child

Completing forms, scheduling appointments, and seeing test results are the most utilized functions
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FRIDAY, July 21, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Only 43 percent of parents say they have a patient portal to communicate with their child's health care provider, according to the results of a survey released by the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

Sarah J. Clark, M.P.H., and colleagues from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at University of Michigan in Ann Arbor asked a national sample of parents of children (ages 0 to 18 years) about their use of patient portals during the past three years for communicating with their children's health care providers.

Parents who have a portal for their child (43 percent) use it to schedule appointments (57 percent), complete previsit forms (68 percent), join a telehealth visit (22 percent), request immunization records (47 percent) or forms (26 percent), see a child's test results (65 percent), or request a prescription refill (25 percent) or referral (12 percent). One-third of parents (34 percent) report using the portal to get advice about their child's illness, injury, or symptoms, and nine in 10 (91 percent) say they got the level of advice they expected within the expected amount of time (94 percent) and from the person they expected (86 percent). Just over half of parents (59 percent) report that their child's health care provider gave them instructions or guidance on when to use the portal. Of parents not having access to a portal, nearly one-third (31 percent) say they do not see a need for it, one-quarter say they did not know it needed to be set up, 16 percent prefer other ways to communicate, 6 percent have privacy concerns, and 3 percent had technical problems getting the portal set up.

"Given all the conveniences portals offer, it's surprising that over half of parents have not set one up for their child, most commonly because they don't see a need for it," Clark said in a statement. "This report suggests many parents may not be aware of all the potential benefits of using a patient portal for children."

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