The quality, safety, and affordability of US health care are serious concerns. The widely quoted Institute of Medicine report To Err Is Human (1999) estimated that medical errors account for 44 000 to 98 000 persons dying in hospitals per year1; a national poll indicated that 4 of 10 persons believe that quality of care had worsened in the 5 years since the report.2 In the meantime, health care continues to absorb a greater proportion of household income. The US Congressional Budget Office predicts that total spending on health care will increase from 16% of the economy in 2007 to 25% in 2025.3 For almost a decade, private- and public-sector entities have consistently advocated that an integral part of solving these problems is the adoption and use of electronic health record (EHR) systems, eg, automated error checking, clinical decision support, and reliable information flow and integration among different individuals and departments involved in patient care.
Hornberger J. Electronic Health Records: A Guide for Clinicians and Administrators. JAMA. 2009;301(1):110. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.910