Patient Portals a Helping Hand for Families

A new study – designed with the direct help of Kaiser Permanente members who use shows just how useful the patient portal is to helping family members participate to the care of each.

Kaiser Permanente has been offering its members an online patient portal ( for over a decade, allowing them to easily access medical information, communicate with clinicians, renew prescriptions, appointments, etc. The portal offers the ability to create accounts to help family members in their health care.

In one survey, more than one-quarter (27.5%) of the 1,392 health plan members with chronic conditions who were registered to use also used it to help a member of their family.

Mary Reed, DrPh

"We were interested in seeing such a high rate in our system," says Mary E. Reed, DrPH research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Research Division . "Studies on the use of the portal in other health care systems have revealed rates as low as 1 percent."

More than 60% of those who cared for family members through the portal used it for a spouse, one-third for a child or grandchild, and 11% for a parent or grandparent . In addition, 94% of members who used the portal to help family members said that it was more convenient than other ways to participate in another person's health care, and 92% said it was faster.

To learn more about the study, check out the full story on the Northern California Research Division "Spotlight. "


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