Ga. Providers Using Health IT Tools To Address Health Care Disparities

April 24, 2014 in News

Health care providers in Georgia are using health IT tools to address care coordination disparities in communities with high rates of poverty and chronic disease, FierceHealthIT reports (Hall, FierceHealthIT, 4/22).

Details of Health IT Use in Underserved Communities

A “Health IT Buzz” blog post on Monday highlighted the importance of health IT adoption in such communities.

The post was written by:

  • Dominick Mack, executive medical director at the Georgia Health Information Technology Extension Center and co-director of the National Center for Primary Care at the Morehouse School of Medicine; and
  • Ayanna Buckner, associate professor of community health and preventive medicine at Morehouse.

According to Mack and Buckner, studies have found that health care innovations historically are adopted at a slower rate in underserved communities. In addition, they cite a study that found that minority populations — including black, Hispanic and Latino patients — who are uninsured or enrolled in Medicaid were less likely to:

  • Have a primary care physician who uses electronic health records than those with private insurance; and
  • Use electronic patient portals than white patients (Mack/Buckner, “Health IT Buzz,” 4/21).

They wrote that national initiatives should ensure EHRs and other health IT tools “are disseminated fairly to primary care providers who treat underserved populations for the improvement of patient engagement and clinical outcomes to help eliminate health disparities” (FierceHealthIT, 4/22).

Details of Georgia Projects

The “Health IT Buzz” post outlined two projects in Georgia that are using technology to increase care coordination for underserved communities.

The Georgia extension center is working with providers in the state to help them use health IT tools to improve care coordination for residents with chronic conditions.

Meanwhile, a mobile application called “Ready Georgia” has been launched to help residents prepare for and stay informed during disasters. Patients and providers can use the app to remotely access health data during such emergencies (“Health IT Buzz,” 4/21).

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