Skip to content

The Digital Transition: Are Adults Aged 65 Years or Older Willing to Complete Online Forms and Questionnaires in Patient Portals?

Patients are being encouraged to complete forms electronically using patient portals rather than on paper, but willingness of older adults to make this transition is uncertain. The authors analyzed data for 4105 Kaiser Permanente Northern California 2020 Member Health Survey respondents aged 65-85 years who answered a question about willingness to complete online forms and questionnaires using a patient portal. Data weighted to the Kaiser Permanente Northern California membership were used to estimate percentages of older adults willing to complete patient portal forms and questionnaires. Chi-square tests and log-Poisson regression models that included sociodemographic, internet use, and patient portal variables were used to identify factors predictive of willingness. Overall, 59.6% of older adults were willing to complete patient portal forms, 17.6% were not willing, and 22.8% were not sure. Adults aged 75-85 (49.5%) vs 65-74 years (64.8%) and Black (51.9%) and Latino (46.5%) vs White (62.8%) adults were less likely to indicate willingness. In addition to racial and ethnic differences and younger age, higher educational attainment, use of the internet alone (vs internet use with help or not at all), having an internet-enabled computer or tablet, and having sent at least 1 message through the patient portal increased likelihood of being willing. Health care teams should assess older adults’ capabilities and comfort related to completion of patient portal-based forms and support those willing to make the digital transition. Paper forms and oral collection of information should remain available for those unable or unwilling to make this digital transition.

Authors: Gordon, Nancy P;Zhang, Sherry;Lo, Joan C;Li, Christina F

Perm J. 2024 Mar 15;28(1):68-75. Epub 2024-02-06.

PubMed abstract

Explore all studies and publications

Back To Top