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Health Aff (Millwood). 2007 Jan-Feb;26(1):206-14.

The value of electronic health records in community health centers: policy implications.

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  • 1Institute for Health and Aging, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


This paper analyzes the costs and benefits of electronic health records (EHRs) in six community health centers (CHCs) that serve disadvantaged patients. EHR-related benefits for most study CHCs did not pay for ongoing EHR costs, yet quality improvement (QI) was substantial. Compared to private practices, CHCs cannot use EHRs to increase visit coding levels and revenues, yet they likely use EHRs more aggressively for QI, which raises equity questions. The evidence suggests that policies are needed that help CHCs to afford EHRs and produce more EHR-related QI gains, including through grants and QI performance rewards.

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