Trends in Electronic Medical Records Technology

John W.Orth

While the first electronic medical record (EMR) implementations began in the 1990s, they only become truly clinically viable after the year 2000. Clinicians and medical informatics experts have attributed the rise in adoption to more sophisticated software, improved computer literacy of the younger clinicians, and, in the United States, financial incentives that the federal government has provided to speed the implementation of EMR technology.

According to the 2012 Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Leadership Survey, governmental initiatives including the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010, “have challenged providers to enhance their IT capabilities like never before.”1

The 2012 survey indicated that over 65 percent of hospitals and 80 percent of physicians are now using EMRs. This does not mean that all medical records are in electronic form because the historic paper records still exist and many clinical procedures are still creating paper records.

Previously the industry differentiated between electronic medical records (EMRs) for physicians and clinics and electronic Health records (EHRs) for hospitals. Since the software vendors now have different versions for each medical discipline with integration to a ...

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