Communication About Health Information Technology Use Between Patients and Providers

Joy L. Lee, Susan M. Rawl, Stephanie Dickinson, Evgenia Teal, Layla B. Baker, Chen Lyu, Will L. Tarver, David A. Haggstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although growing, the prevalence of the use of health information technology (HIT) by patients to communicate with their providers is not well understood on the population level, nor whether patients are communicating with their providers about their use of HIT. Objective: To understand whether patients are communicating with their providers about HIT use and the patient characteristics associated with the communication. Design: Cross-sectional, self-administered survey of a sample of patients across the state of Indiana. Participants: Nine hundred seventy adult participants from across Indiana, 54% female and 79.5% white. Main Measures: The survey included sections assessing health information-seeking behavior, use of health information technology, and discussions with doctors about the use of HIT. Key Results: The survey had a 12% response rate. Sixty-three percent of respondent reported going to the Internet as the first source when seeking health information, while only 19% of respondent reported their doctor was their first source. When communicating with doctors electronically, 31% reported using an electronic health record messaging system, 24% used email, and 18% used text messaging. Only 39% of respondents reported having had any conversation about HIT use with their providers. Conclusions: There remain many unmet opportunities for patients and providers to communicate about HIT use. More guidance for patients and care teams may both help facilitate these conversations and promote optimal use, such as recommendations to ask simple clarification questions and minimize inefficient, synchronous communication when unnecessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2614-2620
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • health information technology
  • patient portal
  • patient–provider communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

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