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Are There Patient Disparities When Electronic Health Records Are Adopted?


Using nationally representative samples of visits from the 2005–2006 National Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys and the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Surveys (N=39,343), this study examines whether electronic health record (EHR) systems have been adopted by primary care physicians or providers (PCPs) for poor minority patients at the same rate as by the PCPs for wealthier non-minority patients. Although we found that electronic health record adoption rates varied primarily by type of practice of the PCP, we also found that uninsured Black and Hispanic or Latino patients, as well as Hispanic or Latino Medicaid patients were less likely to have PCPs using EHRs, compared with privately-insured White patients, after controlling for PCPs’ practice type and location, as well as patient characteristics. This finding reflects a mixture of high and low EHR adopters among PCPs for poor minority patients.

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