Objectives: To assess parents' current utilization and future willingness to use patient portals to interact with their child's health care provider.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of a nationally representative sample of US parents was conducted using an established online panel. Bivariate analyses assessed associations between current utilization and future willingness to use patient portals, parental concerns, and demographic variables.
Results: Among the 1,420 parent respondents, 40% did not know whether their child's health practice offers the option of setting up a patient portal for their child. Of the 21% of parents who reported being offered the option of setting up a patient portal for their child, 59% had done so. Among parents who had the option but chose not to set up a patient portal for their child, lack of time and low perceived need were the main reasons cited. Current use and likelihood of future use was highest for viewing lab results and immunization records. The most common concern about patient portals was the security of the child portal system.
Conclusions: Current use of patient portals by parents is low. Only about half of parents currently using or likely to use a portal perceive value in using portals for certain tasks, which suggests that providers will need to continue traditional communication mechanisms to reach their entire patient population.
Keywords: Patint portal; meaningful use; parent-provider communication.