Providers in rural areas with small practices and fewer resources might not be able to sustain the meaningful use of EHRs, according to a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine .
Conducted by researchers from the Altarum Institute, the State University of New York at Albany and the University of Alberta, the study found that providers with low resources and those in rural areas can't sustain meaningful use of EHRs becuase they lack financial resources, leverage with vendors and technical expertise.
The researchers examined federally qualified health centers and priority practices in Michigan. These rural providers, researchers learned, also don't have security, software and training consultations avaialble to them and they lack reliable internet connections.
The researchers said that continued support from the regional extension center program or additional federal support could help low-resource providers. "Absent that, the multifaceted challenge of health IT maintenance will almost inevitably overwhelm low-resource practices," they wrote.
"The advances in clinical processes expected for Stage 2 and Stage 3 Meaningful Use will strain both the technological expertise and management expertise of low-resource practices."