J Am Board Fam Med. 2015 Sep-Oct;28(5):565-75. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.2015.05.150034.



To complement national and state-level HITECH Act programs, 17 Beacon communities were funded to fuel community-wide use of health information technology to improve quality. Health centers in Beacon communities received supplemental funding.


This article explores the association between participation in the Beacon program and the adoption of electronic health records. Using the 2010-2012 Uniform Data System, trends in health information technology adoption among health centers located within and outside of Beacon communities were explored using differences in mean t tests and multivariate logistic regression.


Electronic health record adoption was widespread and rapidly growing in all health centers, especially quality improvement functionalities: structured data capture, order and results management, and clinical decision support. Adoption lagged for functionalities supporting patient engagement, performance measurement, care coordination, and public health. The use of advanced functionalities such as care coordination grew faster in Beacon health centers, and Beacon health centers had 1.7 times higher odds of adopting health records with basic safety and quality functionalities in 2010-2012.


Three factors likely underlie these findings: technical assistance, community-wide activation supporting health information exchange, and the layering of financial incentives. Additional technical assistance and community-wide activation is needed to support the use of functionalities that are currently lagging.

© Copyright 2015 by the American Board of Family Medicine.

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