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The Association of Electronic Health Record Adoption with Staffing Mix in Community Health Centers

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Objective: To assess how medical staffing mix changed over time in association with the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) in community health centers (CHCs).

Study Setting: Community health centers within the 50 states and Washington, DC.

Study Design: Estimated how the change in the share of total medical staff full-time equivalents (FTE) by provider category between 2007 and 2013 was associated with EHR adoption using fractional multinomial logit.

Data Collection: 2007–2013 Uniform Data System, an administrative data set of Section 330 federal grant recipients; and Readiness for Meaningful Use and HIT and Patient Centered Medical Home Recognition Survey responses collected from Section 330 recipients between December 2010 and February 2011.

Principal Findings: Having an EHR system did significantly shift the share of workers over time between physicians and each of the other categories of health care workers. While an EHR system significantly shifted the share of physician and other medical staff, this effect did not significantly vary over time. CHCs with EHRs by the end of the study period had a relatively greater proportion of other medical staff compared to the proportion of physicians.

Conclusions: Electronic health records appeared to influence staffing allocation in CHCs such that other medical staff may be used to support adoption of EHRs as well as be leveraged as an important care provider.

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