Use of a web portal by adult patients with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes mellitus seen in a family medicine outpatient clinic

Steven S. Coughlin, Vahé Heboyan, Lufei Young, Gianluca De Leo, Thad Wilkins


Background: There has been increasing interest in the use of web portals by patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Studies of web portal use by patients with pre-diabetes have not been reported. To plan studies of web portal use by adult clinic patients seen for pre-diabetes and T2DM at an academic medical center, we examined 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 pre-diabetes or T2DM by age, sex, race and ethnicity.
Results: A total of 866 patients with pre-diabetes and 2,376 patients with T2DM were seen in a family medicine outpatient clinic. About 41.5% of patients with pre-diabetes and 34.7% of those with T2DM had registered for the web portal. In logistic regression analysis, web portal registration among patients with T2DM was significantly associated with age 41–45 years, and with Hispanic ethnicity. Similar results were obtained for pre-diabetes except that the positive association with age 41–45 years and inverse association with Hispanic ethnicity were not statistically significant. Among patients with pre-diabetes or T2DM, Black men and Black women were less likely to have registered than their white counterparts. Patients who were aged 18–25 and >65 years were less likely to have registered for the web portal than those 26–65 years.
Conclusions: Additional research is needed to identify portal design features that improve health outcomes for patients with pre-diabetes and T2DM and interventions that will increase use of patient portals by pre-diabetic and diabetic patients, especially among Black patients and older patients.