Health IT Adoption, Productivity and Quality in Primary Care

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Applied Economics




Within the last decade, there has been a growing push towards the use of electronic medical records and health information technology (IT) within primary care physician practices. Despite financial subsidies, smaller practices remain reluctant to adopt these information systems. Using a nationally representative survey of physicians, this study explores the relationship between physician, practice and area attributes and the adoption of health IT systems. Controlling for these attributes, the analysis subsequently studies the relationship between health IT, physician productivity and perceived quality of care. It finds that smaller practices and physicians with lower incomes are less likely to adopt health IT systems and that adoption varies with the type of medical conditions the practice typically treats. With regards to productivity, health IT adopters are more likely to see fewer patients and spend a larger amount of time on each visit with marginal increases in time on administrative tasks and no differences in perceived ability to deliver quality health care.