This data brief from the Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology reports on data from a national survey regarding patients’ access and use of health information technology (IT).  Among the Stage 2 requirements for meaningful use of certified electronic health records are that more than 50% of unique patients are offered access to their online medical record and more than 5% of unique patients use view, download, and transmit capabilities when accessing their online medical records.

This 2013 survey was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago with MITRE. The respondent universe for the survey was the civilian, non-institutionalized population ages 18 years old and older within the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey utilized a dual random digit dialing (RDD) frame of landline phone numbers and wireless/mobile phone numbers developed by Survey Sampling International (SSI). In order to reduce sampling variability and to represent the nation, NORC stratified the landline RDD frame by Census Region. The survey also oversampled Hispanic, Asian and Black populations.  A total of 2,107 surveys were completed, with an interview completion rate of 41% and a response rate of 21%.  The data reported are weighted national estimates.

Among the respondents, 23% had sent or received an email message from their health care provider, 15% had looked at their medical test result online, 13% had used a smartphone health app, and 11% had sent or received a text message from their health care provider.  Individuals aged 60 to 69 years old had significantly higher rates of emailing providers while individuals between the ages of 30 and 49 years old had significantly higher rates of using smart phone health apps.

However, the use of health IT was significantly lower among individuals of Hispanic race/ethnicity, who took the survey in Spanish, individuals with less than a 4 year college degree, and those who lived in rural settings.  For example, individuals who did not graduate from high school had significantly lower rates of being offered online access compared to individuals with more than a college degree. Individuals who took the survey in Spanish and Hispanics had significantly lower rates of emailing their health care provider and viewing their test results online.

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