Use of a web portal among adult clinic patients seen for type 2 diabetes mellitus

Steven S. Coughlin, Vahé Heboyan, Lovoria B. Williams, Christos Hatzigeorgiou


Background: To determine the number of adult clinic patients seen for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) at an academic medical center and to examine characteristics of those who had or had not registered for a web portal.
Methods: Electronic records were reviewed to identify web portal registration by patients treated for T2DM by age, sex, race and Hispanic ethnicity, and service (General Internal Medicine, Endocrinology).
Results: A total of 1,401 patients with T2DM were seen in General Internal Medicine and Endocrinology outpatient clinics. Less than one third (32%) had registered for the web portal. Women were more likely to have registered for the web portal than men [odds ratio (OR) =1.25; 95% CI, 0.99–1.57; P<0.063]. Black patients were less likely to have registered than whites (OR =0.40; 95% CI, 0.31–0.51; P<0.001). Patients who were 18–25 years of age were less likely to have registered for the web portal, along with those who were 56 to 60 and >66 years of age. In multivariate analysis, a statistically significant association was observed between web portal registration and General Internal Medicine clinic vs. Endocrinology clinic (OR =2.96, P<0.001). Inverse associations were observed with age >18–25 years, male sex (adjusted OR =0.71, P=0.006), and Black race (OR =0.33, P<0.001).
Conclusions: Additional research is needed to identify portal design features that improve glycemic control and interventions that will increase use of patient portals, especially among Black patients with T2DM and those with low health literacy or computer literacy.