This study was supported by a grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Office of Rural Health Policy, grant number R04RH08597. Principal Investigator: Ranjit Singh. For further information, contact: Ranjit Singh, MBBChir, MA (Cantab.), MBA, Primary Care Research Institute, Department of Family Medicine, UB Clinical Center, 462 Grider St. Buffalo, NY 14215-3021; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Adoption and Use of Health Information Technology in Rural Areas: Results of a National Survey
Article first published online: 18 MAR 2011
© 2011 National Rural Health Association
The Journal of Rural Health
Volume 28, Issue 1, pages 16–27, Winter 2012
How to Cite
Singh, R., Lichter, M. I., Danzo, A., Taylor, J. and Rosenthal, T. (2012), The Adoption and Use of Health Information Technology in Rural Areas: Results of a National Survey. The Journal of Rural Health, 28: 16–27. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2011.00370.x
- Issue published online: 3 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 18 MAR 2011
- family medicine;
- health services research;
Context: Health information technology (HIT) is a national policy priority. Knowledge about the special needs, if any, of rural health care providers should be taken into account as policy is put into action. Little is known, however, about rural-urban differences in HIT adoption at the national level.
Purpose: To conduct the first national assessment of HIT in rural primary care offices, with particular attention to electronic medical record (EMR) adoption, range of capabilities in use, and plans for adoption.
Methods: A national mail survey of 5,200 primary care offices, stratified by rurality using Rural-Urban Commuting Area categories, was conducted in 2007-2008. Regression analyses were used to assess the relationship between office characteristics and EMR adoption, capabilities used, and future adoption plans.
Results: A commercial EMR system was present in 31% of offices, with no significant differences by rurality. Of offices with EMRs, 12% reported using a full range of EMR capabilities, with 51% using a basic range and 37% using less than the basic range. Large Rural (adjusted OR = 3.71, P= .022) and Small Rural (aOR = 3.75, P= .049) offices were more likely than Urban offices to use a broader range of EMR capabilities. Among offices without EMRs, those in Isolated areas were less likely to have more immediate plans to adopt (aOR = 0.19, P= .02).
Conclusions: HIT adoption and use in rural primary care offices does not appear to be lower than in urban offices. The situation, however, is dynamic and warrants further monitoring.