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Study: EHRs Can Eliminate Care Disparities

October 27, 2009
by root
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Hospitals that serve a disproportionately large number of poor patients lag behind in EHR adoption, resulting in a digital divide that could exacerbate health care disparities, according to research published in the Web exclusive edition of the journal Health Affairs.

The study, which was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Princeton, N.J.) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (Washington, D.C.), found that lack of capital remains a large barrier to embracing electronic recordkeeping in hospitals. Authors say that unless sufficient federal dollars flow to institutions with a large portion of poor patients, they will have a difficult time catching up.

The research also found that EHR adoption has the potential to eliminate the gaps in disparities in care for patients.

The study will appear in the third annual report on HIT adoption trends in hospitals, also funded by RWJF and ONC, to be released in November. The Executive Summary is available at www.rwjf.org/goto/hitadoption.

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