Date of Award

Summer 6-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

Shuyan Wang

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Johnathan Beedle

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Kyna Shelley

Committee Member 3 School


Committee Member 4

Kevin Wells

Committee Member 4 School



Patient education plays a vital role in improving the health outcomes of patients with chronic diseases and helps prevent illness in otherwise healthy individuals. Patient portals allow patients to access their EHRs, communicate with their healthcare providers, and access patient education materials. Despite the potential for patient portals and education materials to improve health outcomes, many barriers prevent patients from utilizing them. Uneducated patients are more likely to participate in risky health behaviors, which leads to poor health outcomes. Poor health outcomes lead to higher medical costs. Mississippi has a high rate of chronic diseases. Suppose the barriers to patient portal use and educational material use are understood. In that case, patient portal use and patient educational material use could be promoted, and the health of MS could be improved.

Quantitative research methods, including descriptive statistics, survey data, and correlational statistics, were used to address the research questions for this study. A questionnaire was used to gather data on portal use, accessed portal features, and participant demographics. Frequency distributions were used to determine the percentage of portal users versus portal non-users, the percentage of portal users accessing the patient educational materials, the most common barriers to portal use, the most useful portal features, and to describe users vs. non-users. A binary logistic regression was performed using the demographics (IV) as the predictor of portal use and non-use (DV).

Most adult residents in MS use patient portals; however, very few access the patient educational materials in their portal. The main barrier to portal use in MS is a lack of need. Adults in MS also prefer to speak to their healthcare providers in person. Patient portal users in MS are non-Hispanic, white, of high-socioeconomic standing, ages 25-44 years, and have a bachelor's degree or higher. The sample used for this study was a convenience sample, was not diverse, and may not accurately depict portal use, educational material use, perceptions of patient portals, or barriers to portal use in the population of MS. Studies with more diverse samples need to be performed.

Available for download on Friday, June 07, 2024