Providing Adolescents with Access to Online Patient Portals: Interviews with Parent-Adolescent Dyads

Bryan A. Sisk, Alison L. Antes, Christine Bereitschaft, Fabienne Bourgeois, James M. DuBois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To identify perceived benefits, problems, facilitators, and barriers to adolescent online patient portal use. Study design: Qualitative, semi-structured interviews with dyads of parents and adolescents with or without chronic illness. The study team purposively sampled for racial and ethnic minorities and fathers. Three team members then performed thematic analysis of the transcripts, with subsequent dyadic analysis of themes represented by related parents and adolescents. Results: We performed 102 interviews with 51 dyads of parents and adolescents (26 with chronic illness, 25 without chronic illness). Nearly all participants believed that adolescents should be permitted portal access. We identified 4 themes related to portal benefits: improves adolescent's knowledge of health; supports medical self-management and autonomy; strengthens communication and relationships; and supports parental influence. We identified 4 themes related to portal problems: misunderstanding or confusion; emotional distress; strain on relationships; and irresponsible use of portal. Facilitators of portal use included severity of illness, adolescent's curiosity, and ease of technology use. Barriers included lack of awareness or interest, complexity of information, and access difficulties. Twenty adolescents (39%) did not know they could access the portal, and 23 (45%) lacked interest in portals. Parents and adolescents seldom used the portal as a collaborative tool, and instead were engaging with the portal independently. Conclusion: Parents and adolescents perceive several benefits and problems with portal use, but many adolescents lack interest in using portals. Adolescent portals represent an underutilized resource to engage adolescents in their care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114015
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Volume270
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2024

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