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In this study, we have studied the effects of patients’ characteristics on the use of an online patient portal. We have created an explanatory model to illustrate the relationship between the patient-portal use and the patients’ demographic and health characteristics. The study is conducted on a large dataset of 1 million patient records, provided by a leading national healthcare provider. Our results indicate, that a unit increase in health problems increases the odds of using the patient portal by 31.1%. Moreover, a single visit to an emergency department decreases the odds of using a patient portal by 7.1%, while a visit to an urgent care center decreases the odds of portal use by 9.2%. We also found that female patients are 58% more likely to use the patient portal as compared to the male patients. The study has practical implications for health care providers, patients and portal developers.