The top reason for using a portal, cited by 35% of patients, was to view lab results, while 22% said they used the website to request an appointment and 19% to renew a prescription.

82% of patients are now accessing a digital portal to check their medical records, says a small survey of 182 consumers by the American Health Information Management Association.

But how a consumer uses a portal varies widely, and women more than men are using portals to access records and perform other online health and wellness tasks. The top reason for using a portal, cited by 35% of patients, was to view lab results, while 22% said they used the website to request an appointment and 19% to renew a prescription. Over one-half of respondents (53%) noted they were “very satisfied” with the experience while 38% were satisfied.

“Patients continue to be afforded opportunities to take more responsibility for their own personal health information via information technologies, but patient engagement remains low,” the survey says.

While more patients are using portals to access their medical records, not everyone is using digital healthcare tools to maintain or update medical records on their own, the survey says.

Only 49% of respondents maintained their own personal health record and only 18% did so just electronically, according to the survey posted in the October edition of the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association. 35% of respondents maintained their own personal medical records on paper only, while 46% of patients did so with a combination of online tools and paper.

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“The availability of electronic health records (EHRs) and patient portals has significantly increased since the HITECH Act was enacted in 2009,” the survey says. “Consumers are now requesting access to their health information in electronic form and are accessing their information through patient portals.”

The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act was created to stimulate the adoption of electronic health records and supporting technology in the U.S.

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