Individuals’ Access and Use of Patient Portals and Smartphone Health Apps, 2022

Individuals’ Access and Use of Patient Portals and Smartphone Health Apps, 2022

ONC Data Brief | October 2023

Patient use of their health information accessible to them through online tools (e.g., patient portals and smartphone apps) can help empower them to make informed decisions about their health and track progress on health-related goals, potentially resulting in improved patient outcomes (1). Enabling patients to access and use the information contained in online medical records and patient portals may also provide significant health system benefits, including decreased healthcare costs and strengthened patient- physician relationships (1). In 2020, ONC published the Cures Act Final Rule to increase patient and provider access to health-related data, specifically through health IT developer adoption of secure standardized application programming interfaces (APIs) that make this information more widely available across smartphone apps (2). The API requirements, which as of 2023 have been rolled out to health care providers, enable patients to electronically access their electronic health information using apps. This brief analyzes recent data from the 2022 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), a nationally representative survey of U.S. adults, to assess progress in patient access amidst implementation of Cures Rule provisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, which likely increased demand for access to online medical records. This brief also reports on methods and frequency of individuals’ access and use of online medical records and patient portals.



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