Adoption of Health Information Technology in Community Health Centers

To the extent that health information technology (IT) improves health care quality, differential adoption among providers that serve vulnerable populations may exacerbate health disparities. This first national survey of federally-funded community health centers (CHCs) shows that although 26 percent reported some electronic health record (EHR) capacity and 13 percent have the minimal set of EHR functionalities, CHCs serving the most poor and uninsured patients were less likely to have a functional EHR. CHCs cited lack of capital as the top barrier to adoption. Ensuring comparable health IT capacity among providers that disproportionately serve disadvantaged patients will have increasing relevance for disparities; thus, monitoring adoption among such providers should be a priority.