The Adoption and Use of Health Information Technology by Community Health Centers, 2009–2013



With help from targeted federal investments, U.S. physician offices and hospitals have accelerated their adoption and use of patient electronic health records (EHRs) and other health information technology (HIT) in recent years. Comparison of results from The Commonwealth Fund’s two national surveys of federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) in 2009 and 2013 show that HIT adoption has also grown substantially for these important providers of care in poor and underserved communities. Nearly all surveyed FQHCs (93%) now have an EHR system, a 133 percent increase from 2009, the year federal “meaningful use” incentives for HIT were first authorized. Three-quarters of health centers (76%) reported meeting the criteria to qualify for incentive payments. Remaining challenges for health centers include achieving greater interoperability of EHR systems and ensuring patient access to their records. Mobile technology, such as text messaging, may help FQHCs further expand patient outreach and access to care.


Publication Details

Publication Date: May 16, 2014
Authors: Jamie Ryan, Michelle M. Doty, Melinda K. Abrams, Pamela Riley, M.D.
Contact: Melinda K. Abrams, Vice President, Delivery System Reform, The Commonwealth Fund
Christopher Hollander
J. Ryan, M. M. Doty, M. K. Abrams, and P. Riley, The Adoption and Use of Health Information Technology by Community Health Centers, 2009–2013, The Commonwealth Fund, May 2014.

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