Testing a Model of Patient Portal Use in Adult Patients

Hyojin Son, Eun Shim Nahm, Shijun Zhu, Elizabeth Galik, Kristin L. Seidl, Barbara Van de Castle, Vince Russomanno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this study was to test a modified version of the Technology Acceptance Model, which describes users’ technology adoption, to examine the relations between patient portal use and potential influencing factors in adult patients who have used patient portals. The modified model posits that patient portal use can be explained by attitude and self-efficacy for using patient portals, perceived usefulness and ease of use, data privacy and security concerns, eHealth literacy, education level, and age. Design: A cross-sectional anonymous online survey was conducted for adult patients who had used their patient portals in the past 12 months. Methods: Participants were recruited from 20 settings selected in a large integrated health care system. Data from 743 patients were subject to structural equation modeling for model testing. Findings: Sixty-eight percent were White and female, with a mean age of 53.1 years (SD = 15.34). Forty-seven percent used patient portals about monthly or more frequently. Scores for perceived usefulness and ease of use of patient portals were relatively high (as measured using the modified Perceived Health Web Site Usability Questionnaire; each item mean, 6.0–6.2; range, 1–7). The final model adequately fit the data (comparative fit index =.983, standardized root mean square residual =.064, root mean square error of approximation =.059). Patient portal self-efficacy and data privacy and security concerns had a direct impact on patient portal use. Perceived usefulness and ease of use, eHealth literacy, education level, and age indirectly influenced patient portal use. Conclusions: This study contributes to expanding a theoretical understanding of adult patients' patient portal use in a real health care environment. Future studies need to include more diverse populations in various settings. Clinical Relevance: Knowledge gained from this study can be used by technology experts to make patient portals more user friendly and by administrators to implement patient portals more effectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-153
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Cross-sectional survey
  • patient portals
  • structural equation modeling
  • technology acceptance model
  • usability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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