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J Med Internet Res. 2018 Feb 6;20(2):e43. doi: 10.2196/jmir.8372.

Patterns in Patient Access and Utilization of Online Medical Records: Analysis of MyChart.

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Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Sunnybrook Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Contributed equally



Electronic patient portals provide a new method for sharing personal medical information with individual patients.


Our aim was to review utilization patterns of the largest online patient portal in Canada's largest city.


We conducted a 4-year time-trend analysis of aggregated anonymous utilization data of the MyChart patient portal at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Ontario, Canada, from January 1, 2012, through December 31, 2015. Prespecified analyses examined trends related to day (weekend vs weekday), season (July vs January), year (2012 vs 2015), and an extreme adverse weather event (ice storm of December 20-26, 2013). Primary endpoints included three measures of patient portal activity: registrations, logins, and pageviews.


We identified 32,325 patients who registered for a MyChart account during the study interval. Time-trend analysis showed no sign of attenuating registrations over time. Logins were frequent, averaged 734 total per day, and showed an increasing trend over time. Pageviews mirrored logins, averaged about 3029 total per day, and equated to about 5 pageviews during the average login. The most popular pageviews were clinical notes, followed by laboratory results and medical imaging reports. All measures of patient activity were lower on weekends compared to weekdays (P<.001) yet showed no significant changes related to seasons or extreme weather. No major security breach, malware attack, or software failure occurred during the study.


Online patient portals can provide a popular and reliable system for distributing personal medical information to active patients and may merit consideration for hospitals.


doctor patient relationship; electronic health records; patient portals; personal health information; shared decision making

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