A recent Penn Medicine study found that patients who use online patient portals are more likely to engage in preventive healthcare behaviors. The study showed that patients who use online portals are twice as likely to have their blood pressure checked, and 50% more likely to get a flu shot and get their cholesterol checked. Kevin Mahoney, CEO of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and senior author of the study, said preventive healthcare measures are important in reducing the prevalence of chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

No significant relationship was found between portal use and effects on chronic illness prevalence, Penn Medicine News reported. The research, however, did show discrepancies in online patient portal usage between different demographic constituencies.Online portal users are more likely to be Caucasian and have commercial insurance compared to the group of non-users. Portal users tend to be younger and have higher incomes compared to their counterparts who have not registered for the portal.