Chinese Americans’ Use of Patient Portal Systems: Scoping Review

Katharine Lawrence, Stella Chong, Holly Krelle, Timothy Roberts, Lorna Thorpe, Chau Trinh-Shevrin, Stella Yi, Simona Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Electronic patient portals are increasingly used in health care systems as communication and information-sharing tools and show promise in addressing health care access, quality, and outcomes. However, limited research exists on portal use patterns and practices among diverse patient populations, resulting in the lack of culturally and contextually tailored portal systems for these patients. Objective: This study aimed to summarize existing evidence on the access and use patterns, barriers, and facilitators of patient portals among Chinese Americans, who represent a growing patient population in the United States with unique health care and health technology needs. Methods: The authors conducted a literature search using the PRISMA Protocol for Scoping Reviews (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses-ScR) for extracting articles published in major databases (MEDLINE, Embase, and PsycINFO) on patient portals and Chinese Americans. Authors independently reviewed the papers during initial screening and full-text review. The studies were analyzed and coded for the study method type, sample population, and main outcomes of interest. Results: In total, 17 articles were selected for inclusion in the review. The included articles were heterogenous and varied in their study aims, methodologies, sample populations, and outcomes. Major findings identified from the articles include variable patterns of portal access and use among Chinese Americans compared to other racial or ethnic groups, with limited evidence on the specific barriers and facilitators for this group; a preference for cross-sectional quantitative tools such as patient surveys and electronic health record–based data over qualitative or other methodologies; and a pattern of aggregating Chinese American–related data into a larger Asian or Asian American designation. Conclusions: There is limited research evaluating the use patterns, experiences, and needs of Chinese Americans who access and use patient portal systems. Existing research is heterogeneous, largely cross-sectional, and does not disaggregate Chinese Americans from larger Asian demographics. Future research should be devoted to the specific portal use patterns, preferences, and needs of Chinese Americans to help ensure contextually appropriate and acceptable design and implementation of these digital health tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere27924
JournalJMIR Human Factors
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • Asian Americans
  • Chinese Americans
  • digital divide
  • ehealth
  • electronic health records
  • health equity
  • patient portal
  • personal health records

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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