A new study in Health Affairs shows that hospitals that are small, rural or non-teaching continue to lag behind other hospitals in adopting electronic health records.

Study authors recommend that federal policymakers increase efforts to ensure the gap does not widen. “A more robust infrastructure for information exchange needs to be developed, and possibly a special program for the sizable minority of hospitals that have almost no health information technology at all.”

The study found that 10.7 percent of small hospitals had at least a basic EHR in 2011, up 14.7 percent from 2008. But medium hospitals had a 29.8 percent rate (up 20 percent) while 43 percent of large hospitals had at least a basic EHR, up 24.5 percent.

Significant gaps also showed when comparing rural and urban, and teaching and non-teaching hospitals. The report is available at healthaffairs.org.

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