A recent study published in the journal Perspectives in Health Information Management identified racial differences in how U.S. physicians use health IT tools, FierceHealthIT reports (Bird, FierceHealthIT, 9/19).
For the study, researchers analyzed the Center for Studying Health System Change's 2004-2005 Community Tracking Study Physician Survey.
The HSC survey was conducted between June 2004 and July 2005 and included responses from 6,628 U.S. physicians (Lee/Rutsohn, Perspectives in Health Information Management, Summer 2012).
According to the new study:
- White physicians are more likely than black, Hispanic and Asian physicians to use health IT to communicate with patients electronically;
- White physicians are more likely than minority physicians to use health IT to share clinical data and images with other health care providers;
- Minority physicians are more likely than white physicians to use health IT for preventive services and for generating preventive service reminders; and
- Minority physicians are more likely than white physicians to use health IT to look for information about drug formularies.
Researchers Comment on Findings
The study authors theorized that white physicians might be less likely to look up drug formulary information because they might be less inclined to consider patients' prescription drug costs.
However, researchers said they had no explanation for the other racial disparities in the use of health IT tools.
They wrote, "Ethnic/racial disparities in the use of IT at the provider level may be another barrier to increasing the number of physicians who utilize IT, and subsequently understanding racial/ethnic disparities in IT adoption among physicians remains important in helping to successfully introduce IT into the medical community" (FierceHealthIT, 9/19).