Electronic health record (EHR) adoption is uneven, with traditionally underserved areas having lower adoption rates across the United States, according to a study published in Health Services Research.

Jennifer King, Ph.D., from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology in Washington, D.C., and colleagues analyzed data on U.S. ambulatory health care sites (261,973 sites covering 716,160 providers). Survey data were collected by SK&A Information Services in 2011 and Public Use Microdata Areas (2,068) were used to define local areas.

The researchers found that EHR adoption varied significantly across local areas, ranging from 8 to 88 percent, with a median of 41 percent. Large metropolitan areas, areas with a high concentration of minority population in the northeast and west, and areas with a high concentration of low-income population in the midwest had lower adoption.

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“Our 2011 estimates suggest there was substantial room for increased EHR adoption across the United States, including some underserved areas with relatively low EHR adoption rates,” the authors write.