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Internet Access and Patient Portal Readiness Among Patients in a Group of Inner-City Safety-Net Practices

Sanders, Mechelle R. BA; Winters, Paul MS; Fortuna, Robert J. MD, MPH; Mendoza, Michael MD, MPH; Berliant, Marc MD; Clark, Linda MD, MS; Fiscella, Kevin MD, MPH

The Journal of Ambulatory Care Management: July/September 2013 - Volume 36 - Issue 3 - p 251–259
doi: 10.1097/JAC.0b013e31829702f9
Special Features

The use of online personal health records (PHRs) threatens to transform the digital divide to a health care divide among the underserved. Little is known about underserved patients' ability to access online PHRs. We examined these factors among patients within safety-net practices. Among respondents (N = 654), only 12% had no experience of using a computer, and most were interested in using it to communicate with their provider. Age, sex, and race were not associated with interest in PHRs. A majority of patients have access to the Internet and are interested in using a PHR to manage their care, but they are not prepared.

Department of Family Medicine, Family Medicine Research Programs (Ms Sanders, Mr Winters, and Dr Fiscella), Culver Medical Group (Dr Fortuna), Highland Family Medicine (Dr Mendoza), and Strong Internal Medicine (Dr Berliant), University of Rochester Medical Center, and Anthony Jordan Health Center (Dr Clark), Rochester, New York.

Correspondence: Mechelle R. Sanders, BA, Department of Family Medicine, Family Medicine Research Programs, University of Rochester, 1381 South Ave, Rochester, NY 14620 (

This study was funded by the University of Rochester's Center for Community Health (NCI). The authors extend their thanks and appreciation for the patients and clinicians who participated in this study.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

© 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins