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Secure Messaging with Physicians by Proxies for Patients with Diabetes: Findings from the ECLIPPSE Study

Little is known about patients who have caregiver proxies communicate with healthcare providers via portal secure messaging (SM). Since proxy portal use is often informal (e.g., sharing patient accounts), novel methods are needed to estimate the prevalence of proxy-authored SMs. (1) Develop an algorithm to identify proxy-authored SMs, (2) apply this algorithm to estimate predicted proxy SM (PPSM) prevalence among patients with diabetes, and (3) explore patient characteristics associated with having PPSMs. Retrospective cohort study. We examined 9856 patients from Diabetes Study of Northern California (DISTANCE) who sent ??1 English-language SM to their primary care physician between July 1, 2006, and Dec. 31, 2015. Using computational linguistics, we developed ProxyID, an algorithm that identifies phrases frequently found in registered proxy SMs. ProxyID was validated against blinded expert categorization of proxy status among an SM sample, then applied to identify PPSM prevalence across patients. We examined patients’ sociodemographic and clinical characteristics according to PPSM penetrance, “none” (0%), “low” (??0-50%), and “high” (??50-100%). Only 2.3% of patients had ??1 registered proxy-authored SM. ProxyID demonstrated moderate agreement with expert classification (??=?0.58); 45.7% of patients had PPSMs (40.2% low and 5.5% high). Patients with high percent PPSMs were older than those with low percent and no PPSMs (66.5 vs 57.4 vs 56.2 years, p?

Authors: Semere W; Crossley S; Karter AJ; Lyles CR; Brown W; Reed M; McNamara DS; Liu JY; Schillinger D

J Gen Intern Med. 2019 11;34(11):2490-2496. Epub 2019-08-19.

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