There is a digital divide between hospitals disproportionately serving the poor and those hospitals serving the rest of the population, according to the findings of a team of Harvard researchers looking into adoption rates of health information technology.
Also, hospitals that serve a poorer clientele tend to have lower adoption rates of health IT, and, as the conventional wisdom also suggests, those poorer hospitals with fewer IT systems up and running tend to do worse in terms of performance measures, than hospitals where more robust IT systems are in use, the researchers found.
The findings are found in an 11-page summary report, Evidence of an Emerging Digital Divide Among Hospitals That Care for the Poor. The summary appeared today in the online edition of the policy journal Health Affairs and at the Web site of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the study along with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS.
The full study report will appear as part of the third annual report by the foundation and ONC on health IT adoption to be released in November.