A survey by Nashville-based technology consultancy Technology Advice reveals almost half of patients don't even know if their physician has a patient portal--and that patients still prefer a mix of online and telephone communications from their providers.

Nearly 40 percent of patients are unsure if their primary care physician has a patient portal web site available, while another 11 percent are confident their physician “does not” offer one. In all, less than half of the 430 patients surveyed--49.2 percent--report actually being shown a patient portal by their primary care physician either during a visit or outside a visit.

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