Leveraging Health Information Technology (Health IT) to Address Minority Health Disparities

Council Date: February 27, 2018

Objectives

The proposed initiative will support research that examines the impact of health information technology (health IT) adoption on health disparity populations (e.g. racial/ethnic, low SES, rural, sexual/gender minority) in access to care, quality of care, patient engagement, and health outcomes.

Description of Initiative:

The proposed initiative will support the use of randomized and pragmatic clinical trials, comparative effectiveness research observational studies, and implementation science to investigate how to leverage health information technology (health IT) to address health disparities by increasing access to care, delivery of higher quality care, and improving patient-clinician communication.

Areas of research interest include but are not limited to the following: Best practices for the inclusion of social determinants of health (SDH) in electronic health records (EHRs) and clinical decision support (CDS) to assist clinicians to deliver context informed care and evaluation of when in the clinical workflow can this have the most utility to impact outcomes for vulnerable patients;

  • Evaluation of how addressing EHR-based SDH risks impacts health;
  • Implementation models of delivering CDS in diverse settings (e.g. small, rural, safety net clinics) and the usability of these tools to determine what is working & what is missing in reducing disparities in quality of care and outcomes;
  • The effects of EHR use on patients –physical communication, relationships, and patient health outcomes and the impact on underserved populations;
  • Disparities in adoption rates of patients’ portal/personal health records (PHRs) among older minority users, rural residents, low-income patients, persons with limited English proficiency (LEP), and race/ethnic minority patients;
  • The types of personalization needed to foster patient engagement of patient portals/PHRs in a sustained and relevant way for underserved populations;