Comparison of Health Information Technology Use Between American Adults With and Without Chronic Health Conditions: Findings From The National Health Interview Survey 2012

JMIR Publications
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Medical Internet Research, 2017, 17 (10)
Issue Date:
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Background: Health information technology (HIT) is utilized by people with different chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. However, there has been no comparison of HIT use between persons without a chronic condition, with one chronic condition, and multiple (≥2) chronic conditions (MCCs). Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the difference in HIT use between persons without a chronic condition, with one chronic condition, and with MCCs, to describe the characteristics of HIT use among those with chronic conditions and to identify the predictors of HIT use of the persons with one chronic condition and MCCs. Methods: A secondary data analysis was conducted in spring 2017 using the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) 2012 Family Core and Sample Adult Core datasets that yielded 34,525 respondents aged 18 years and older. Measures included overall HIT use (ie, any use of the following five HIT on the Internet: seeking health information, ordering prescription, making appointment, emailing health provider, and using health chat groups), as well as sociodemographic and health-related characteristics. Sociodemographic and health characteristics were compared between HIT users and nonusers among those who reported having at least one chronic condition using chi-square tests. Independent predictors of HIT use were identified using multiple logistic regression analyses for those with one chronic condition, with MCCs, and without a chronic condition. Analyses were weighted and performed at significance level of .005. Results: In 2012, adults with one health chronic condition (raw count 4147/8551, weighted percentage 48.54%) was significantly higher than among those with MCCs (3816/9637, 39.55%) and those with none of chronic condition (7254/16,337, 44.40%, P<.001). Seeking health information was the most prevalent HIT use. Chi-square tests revealed that among adults with chronic conditions, those who used HIT were significantly different from their counterpart peers who did not use HIT in terms of sociodemographic and health characteristics (P<.001). Overall, the significant factors related to HIT use were similar among the adults with one chronic condition, with MCCs, or without a chronic condition: younger age, female sex, non-Hispanic white, higher education level, and higher income level were shown to be positively related to the HIT use. Conclusions: This study provides a snapshot of HIT use among those with chronic conditions and potential factors related to such use. Clinical care and public health communication efforts attempting to leverage more HIT use should acknowledge differential HIT usage as identified in this study to better address communication inequalities and persistent disparities in socioeconomic status.
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