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March 13, 2013

Improving the Electronic Health Record—Are Clinicians Getting What They Wished For?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Laboratory for Informatics Development, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

JAMA. 2013;309(10):991-992. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.890

Pleas for improvement in patient health records date back to Florence Nightingale1 and have persisted well into the 21st century. Computer-based records, currently referred to as electronic health records (EHRs), have been proposed as a means for improving availability, legibility, and completeness of patient information. EHRs have been commercially available since the 1970s, but their adoption has become widespread only recently, driven in part by financial encouragement ($27 billion worth) from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. Today, almost 3 of 4 physicians report using EHRs.2 With this increase in adoption, the medical community is now beginning to appreciate both the promise and perils of “going electronic.”