NCPC Strategies

Digital Technology Study

Despite tremendous potential for technology to aid in the advancement of health equity, our prior research1 has identified gaps in technology adoption that impact high disparity populations.

To address these gaps, the National Center for Primary Care (NCPC) at Morehouse School of Medicine is examining the adoption and use of digital health tools by primary care clinicians (Family Medicine, General Internal Medicine, General Practice, Pediatrics, or OB/GYN specialized physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certified nurse midwives) in four southeastern states: Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Tennessee.

We are prioritizing clinicians serving underserved communities in the southeast region due to the prevalent health disparities and poor health outcomes experienced by residents of these communities, with a particular focus on diabetes and maternal morbidity and mortality.

Our research strategy consists of the NCPC Digital Health Tool survey and focus groups of primary care clinicians working in the states of interest. We will also be conducting key informant interviews with policymakers, leadership, administrators, and staff in small practices and rural hospitals and conducting an environmental scan of the policy and system-level factors in each state to identify the facilitators and barriers to utilization of digital health tools in practice.

The following data is an early look at results from surveys completed as a results of this study. The data from these surveys were completed between October 2019 and January 2021.

  • Multi-color doughnut graph detailing the percentage of surveys taken by state of interest.
  • Multi-colored graphic detailing rate of digital health tools study participants results by specialty.
  • Survey results regarding use of digital health tools in the last 5 years in the practice.
  • Survey results regarding the factors that posed barriers to adoption of digital health tools.
  • Results of the use of digital health tools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Describes the area of medicine the telemedicine is or is planned to be used.
  • Results of the survey question that measures if the clinician is first using telehealth for the first time during the cOVID-19 pandemic.
  • Describes tools used or planned to use in practices.

Are you not a Primary Care clinician? We still want to partner with you! Whether you are a clinician in our study, a clinician outside our focus areas, or an associate, you can help spread the word about our study. For partnership opportunities, please contact Denita Walston, MS at


State Health Equity GA State Health Equity KY State Health Equity NC State Health Equity TN

Leadership Roundtable Briefs

GA Leadership Roundtable Brief

KY Leadership Roundtable Brief

NC Leadership Roundtable Brief

TN Leadership Roundtable Brief

Southeast DHTS Brief




This program is funded in partnership with the United Health Foundation.

United Health Foundation

1Mack D, Zhang S, Douglas M, Sow C, Strothers H, Rust G. Disparities in Primary Care EHR Adoption Rates. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2016 Feb;27(1):327-338.

Douglas MD, Xu J, Heggs A, Wrenn G, Mack DH, Rust G. Assessing Telemedicine Utilization by Using Medicaid Claims Data. Psychiatr Serv. 2017 Feb 1;68(2):173-178.

Douglas MD, Dawes DE, Holden KB, Mack D. Missed policy opportunities to advance health equity by recording demographic data in electronic health records. Am J Public Health. 2015 Jul;105 Suppl 3:S380-8.