Evolution of the Electronic Health Record

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Evolution of the Electronic Health Record
By Belinda Martorelli
11 January 2012

The beginnings of a standardized electronic health record system started in the 1960’s. They were mostly written accounts of the patients’ complaints’. As the systems developed, the records followed a business format, with the information being more useful for the financials and statistics. (Johns, Merida L. (Ed.) (2011) Health Information Management Technology, Illinois: Chicago, Third Edition.) It was reported by Summerfield and Empey that “at least 73 hospitals” were using computerized systems for patient’s records and there were “28 projects” underway to store and retrieve clinically relevant information. Over time other systems were created such as the CHCS - Composite Health Care System – used by the Department of Defense, COSTAR - the Computer Stored Ambulatory Record- used worldwide, and DHCP - De-Centralized Hospital Computer Program cultivated by the Veteran’s Administration - used nationwide, to name a few. (Electronic Health Records, National Institutes of Health National Center for Research Resources, Overview, April 2006, The MITRE Corporation) The Institute of Medicine (IOM) saw new technologies in the mid 1980’s that they wished to implement in Electronic Health Records (EHR) to reduce duplicate records and increase accuracy. In 1991, a committee was created to make a report and recommendations. That first report was titled “The Computer-based Patient Record: An Essential Technology for Health Care”. The results of this report spoke about the characteristics, features and purposes of the electronic record. (Johns, Merida L. (Ed.) (2011) Health Information Management Technology, Illinois: Chicago, Third Edition.) Early in 1999, a report came out that revealed between 44,000 and 98,000 American hospital patients died due to medical errors. Embracing information technology was a priority along with other factors that needed improvement in the American...
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