Hospitals that disproportionately care for poor patients are less likely than other hospitals to have adopted health information technology, says a new study. The research finds the digital divide is associated with differences in how well hospitals address racial and ethnic disparities in care and highlights the importance of helping hospitals go electronic.
Researchers surveyed 2,368 hospitals about their use of electronic systems for 24 functions such as physician notes, discharge summaries, test results viewing, order entries and decision support. The hospitals that served the most Medicaid, black and Hispanic patients, according to a Medicare measure known as the disproportionate-share hospital index, had lower rates of adoption than hospitals that served the fewest such patients, said the Health Affairs study published online Oct. 26.
The whole shebang.