It may seem like the electronic health record (EHR) has been a part of healthcare for quite some time and it actually has been around since the 1960s when the Mayo Clinic became the first major health system to adopt the use of EHR. However, EHR really did not gain traction in healthcare until the 1990s when the technology that would support the use of EHR, along with widespread Internet access, became more common in healthcare facilities. Within the last 10 years it has become essential for high-quality patient care and regulatory compliance.
While it may have originally been seen as expensive and impractical in the 1960s, it is now essential to patient care. The now-famous 1999 study, “To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System"1 broke the silence on medical errors and drew attention to the processes and systems (rather than the people) that contributed to the shocking statistics on medical errors. The EHR is strongly associated with safer patient practices related to workflow, policy, communications, and cultural practices.2
EHR provides significant benefits for patients.
Much has been written about the benefits of the EHR for patients, but there are significant benefits for healthcare providers too.
1 Kohn LT, Corrigan JM, Donaldson MS. To err is human: Building a safer health system. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1999.
2 Tanner C, Gans D, White J, Nath R, Pohl J. Electronic health records and patient safety: co-occurrence of early EHR implementation with patient safety practices in primary care settings. Appl Clin Inform. 2015 Mar 11;6(1):136-47. doi: 10.4338/ACI-2014-11-RA-0099. PMID: 25848419; PMCID: PMC4377566.
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