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Epic Outcomes

Increasing Representation of Women in Clinical Studies with MyChart

Study finds using MyChart to invite research participation decreases bias based on sex

Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that MyChart is an effective tool for decreasing bias based on sex in the identification of potential participants for clinical studies.

Women are historically underrepresented in clinical studies, with average participation rates around 35%. The UTSW researchers examined if using MyChart to offer patients an option to join a research recruitment registry for future studies could reduce bias based on sex. Controlling for other factors like age and ethnicity, the study concluded that women were statistically more likely to accept the MyChart invitation than men, resulting in a more appropriate representation of both sexes in the registry.

“Sex is an important factor in patterns of disease and response to treatment in a wide range of clinical situations,” said Vaishnavi Kannan, a data scientist at UTSW and researcher on the study. “If women are underrepresented in a study, the power of its findings is reduced. We found that patient portals encourage broader, more representative participation.”

Researchers acknowledged that further studies are needed to understand whether patient portals can also reduce recruitment bias on the basis of race, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Read the full study in JAMIA. Epic community members can find out more from UTSW’s UGM slides and audio, and learn how to use MyChart for research recruitment on the UserWeb.