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The Use of eHealth Practices by United States Patients with Self-Reported Glaucoma

PurposePatient-oriented eHealth practices (e.g., scheduling appointments on the Internet, communicating with providers online) are an integral part of modern healthcare delivery. It is not known what proportion of United States patients with glaucoma use eHealth and how this use compares with those without glaucoma.DesignCross-sectional study.ParticipantsParticipants in the 2016 through 2017 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a cross-sectional survey regarding health topics that is administered annually to a nationally representative sample of noninstitutionalized adults in the United States.MethodsBased on the NHIS complex survey design, we calculated the proportion of participants with and without glaucoma who used 5 different eHealth practices (looking up health information on the Internet, requesting or ordering a prescription medication on the Internet, scheduling a medical appointment on the Internet, communicating with healthcare provider online, and using online groups to learn about health topics) during the 12 months before the survey. We performed univariate and multivariate logistic regression to evaluate the association between self-reported glaucoma diagnosis and use of the eHealth practices.Main Outcome MeasuresProportion using eHealth practices and odds ratios (ORs).ResultsForty thousand four hundred sixty-five survey participants were included in the analysis; 1932 had self-reported glaucoma and 38 533 did not. For those with glaucoma, 46.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 43.3%–49.0%) used at least one of the eHealth practices in the 12 months before the survey compared with 52.5% (95% CI, 51.5%–53.5%) of those without glaucoma (P < 0.001). After adjusting for confounders, participants with glaucoma were more likely to report use of at least 1 of the eHealth practices compared with those without glaucoma (adjusted OR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.06–1.40; P = 0.005).ConclusionsIn this nationally representative United States population, nearly half of people with glaucoma reported using eHealth practices. Although a lower proportion of people with glaucoma used eHealth practices compared with those without glaucoma, this relationship actually reversed after adjusting for confounders. Because many patients with glaucoma are capable of and already using e-Health, further investment in these technologies may be beneficial.

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