Electronic health record portal use by family caregivers of patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation: United States national survey study

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JMIR Cancer


Background: As family caregivers of patients undergoing hematopoietic cell transplantation have multifaceted caregiving responsibilities (such as medical, household, financial) of long duration, they also have multiple physical, social, psychological, and informational needs. Objective: This study explored the prevalence of electronic health record patient portal use by family caregivers for managing both their own and their hematopoietic cell transplantation care recipient’s health, as well as potential factors associated with portal use. Methods: An electronic caregiver health survey, first developed via cognitive interviewing methods of hematopoietic cell transplantation caregivers, was distributed nationally (in the United States) by patient advocacy organizations to family caregivers of hematopoietic cell transplantation patients. It was used to assess self-reported caregiver demographics, caregiving characteristics, depression and anxiety with the Patient Health Questionnaire–4, coping with the Brief COPE, and caregiver portal use to manage care recipient’s and their own health. Results: We found that 77% of respondents (720/937) accessed electronic health record patient portals for their care recipients, themselves, or both. Multivariate models indicated use of care recipient electronic health record portals by caregivers was more likely with young, White, married, low-income caregivers caring for a parent, residing with the care recipient, and experiencing more caregiver depression. Caregiver use of their own electronic health record portal was more likely with young, White, high-income caregivers caring for a parent and experiencing chronic medical conditions of their own. Partially due to multicollinearity, anxiety and coping did not contribute independently to this model. Conclusions: Findings from the survey could open avenues for future research into caregiver use of technology for informational support or intervention, including wearables and mobile health.

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