Research Activities March 2013, No. 391
Race linked to lower use of shared electronic medical records by patients with diabetes
Shared medical records (SMRs) provides patients with online services for their care management, including secure electronic messaging with providers, requesting prescription refills, and viewing lab test results and summaries of visits. A new study reports that SMRs are used at different rates by diabetes patients of different races/ethnicities. The differences in SMR usage among black (34 percent) and Asian (37 percent) patients compared to white (62 percent) patients could not be fully explained by differences in age, sex, income level, health status, or characteristics of clinicians. After fully adjusting for these factors, the researchers found that black patients with diabetes had one-fifth and Asian patients two-fifths the odds of using the SMR compared to white patients.
Even when limiting the comparison to patients who were at least occasional Internet users, black patients with diabetes still were one-fourth as likely as white patients to use SMR services. This suggests that racial/ethnic differences in SMR use may go beyond basic access to or knowledge about computers. The findings were based on a 2009 survey of patients with diabetes at five racially and ethnically diverse clinics within the Group Health integrated health care delivery system located in western Washington State. The study was funded in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS13853 and HS16759).
More details are in "Race/ethnicity and shared medical record use among diabetes patients," by Courtney R. Lyles, Ph.D., Lynne T. Harris, M.S., Luesa Jordan, B.A., and others in the May 2012 Medical Care 50(5), pp.434–440.