Using Electronic Health Records Data to Evaluate the Impact of Information Technology on Improving Health Equity: Evidence from China
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This study evaluates the impact of health information technology in accessing medical resources and identifies its role in improving health equity. We used 262, 771 records from the electronic medical records and outpatient appointment systems of three clinics for logistic regression to analyze the impact of information technology on patients’ access to medical care. We interviewed a few health professionals to gauge their reactions and to validate and understand our quantitative results. The proportion of inpatients affected by information technology is low, accounting for only 16.7% (N = 43, 870). The difference between rural and urban groups is statistically significant, and rural households are more susceptible to information technology. In addition, distance has a significant positive effect. We demonstrate an inverted U-shaped relationship between severity of disease and the impact of information technology. Moreover, our interview results are consistent with our quantitative results. Quantitative and interview results suggest that health information technology plays a positive role in accessing medical care for patients with rural household and those in remote areas. Meanwhile, this effect is complex for patients with different severities of illnesses. Governments and managers should vigorously promote health information technology for healthcare delivery in the future and focus their attention on patients with serious diseases.
KeywordsHealth equity Health disparity Information technology Electronic medical records
Electronic medical records
The authors thank Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology for providing data used for this empirical analysis.
This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (award no. 71671073) and Natural Science Foundation of Hubei Province (award no. 2018CFB739).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
All authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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