The digital gap grows

November 24, 2006

Despite all the happy talk about physician health IT adoption approaching the tipping point, the digital divide between large and small practices continues to grow. That?s according to the Center for Studying Health System Change, which found that the e-prescribing gap between small practices (1-9 physicians) and large (51-plus) group practices tripled between 2000-01 and 2004-05 in 12 representative markets.

Despite all the happy talk about physician health IT adoption approaching the tipping point, the digital divide between large and small practices continues to grow. That's according to the Center for Studying Health System Change, which found that the e-prescribing gap between small practices (1-9 physicians) and large (51-plus) group practices tripled between 2000-01 and 2004-05 in 12 representative markets.

In the earlier period, 8 percent of small practices reported having access to e-prescribing, vs. 13 percent in the recent period. The percentage of large groups doing e-prescribing, in contrast, jumped from 19 percent to 47 percent. While the study concluded that "larger, savvier organizations adopt new technologies first," the trend may also be related to the fact that big groups are much more likely to have advanced EHRs that include eRx modules.