The much-feared digital divide now is being recognized as having racial and ethnic components that the government and health information technology vendors should address, according to the federal health IT czar.
In an open letter posted online to the health IT vendor community, David Blumenthal, the national coordinator for health IT at HHS, asked health information technology vendors for their help "in making sure that we are not creating a new form of 'digital divide.' " Blumenthal also asked vendors of electronic health-record systems to ensure that they "include providers who serve minority communities in their sales and marketing efforts."
"Despite our best efforts, data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey indicates that EHR adoption rates remain lower among providers serving Hispanic or Latino patients who are uninsured or relied upon Medicaid," Blumenthal said. "Moreover, this data also identifies that EHR adoption rates among providers of uninsured non-Hispanic black patients are lower than for providers of privately insured non-Hispanic white patients."