"UT Southwestern made MyChart available for cancer patients in 2007 and, wow, do they use it. Many patients use it, and they use it frequently, with the majority of those patients being over 60," said Dr. Lee, pointing out that those patients are different from the non-patient demographic, typically younger that uses the internet more heavily than the rest of the general population.
Dr. Lee, a medical anthropologist, said he will use the study as a baseline to inform his efforts to learn more about how doctor-patient relationships may be changed through increased "meaningful use" of health care technologies, such as the Electronic Medical Record.
Nearly 6,500 patients at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center enrolled in MyChart from 2007 to 2012 and were included in the study.
"I was struck by the immediacy of the uptake and the volume of use," Dr. Gerber said. "I suspected that the volume would be high. I did not think that it was going to be multi-fold higher than other patient populations."
Use of MyChart was greater among cancer patients than among another other patient groups except for children with life threatening medical conditions, according to the study.
"We undertook this study because we suspected that the volume of electronic portal use might be greater among patients with cancer than in other populations," Dr. Gerber said.
While the study did not directly compare use patterns with non-cancer groups, the average use in the current study was four to eight times greater than has been reported previously in primary care, pediatric, surgical subspecialty, and o
|Contact: Russell Rian|
UT Southwestern Medical Center