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Electronic Health Record, Its History and Goals


Electronic health record (EHR) is also known as the computer-based patient record. Generally speaking, EHR is “electronically maintained information about an individual lifetime health status and healthcare [including] medical history, current medications, laboratory tests, x-ray images, etc.” (Leavitt, 2002, p. 257). It indeed is a breakthrough in the field of medicine and healthcare because keeping all the information about the patient in one database helps reduce the probability of making a medicinal mistake while diagnosing.

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The development and implementation of the EHR were promising initiatives, and over time, it has become a synonym for the improved quality of services provided at lower costs, better communication, and the overall progress of the healthcare system (Bracco & Labeau, 2015). Electronic health record has a rich history. It originated from the 1968 Medical Record System that has become the first attempt to develop and launch the computer-based patient record system. It was designed by Duke University with the purpose of automating patients’ histories thus improving healthcare. The second step in the development of the EHR was taken by the University of Utah and the LDS Hospital that in the 1970s developed the HELP system, Health Evaluation through Logical Processing, that was a central integrated computer-based record database and a knowledge base used by these two institutions. During the 1980s, the interest in creating the overall EHR database diminished, as the developers found more interest in feeder systems.

It was not until 1991 that the Institute of Medicine published its book, The Computer-Based Patient Record: An Essential Technology for Health Care (Leavitt, 2002), that contained the genuine recommendation for designing and launching this system and indicated reasons for its necessity. Since then started the process of bringing to life the idea of a database containing all the necessary information about the patient. It should be said that many physicians were not happy with this concept, as they realized that they had to improve their skills in working with computers. Even though there were certain problems with the implementation of this system, in 2001, the electronic health records system has become a reality. Within ten years, it covered more than half hospitals (Electronic health records infographic, 2011). What is more, the EHR system is easily accessible so the patients can see their medical history any time they want.

Today, the primary goal of the electronic health record is to provide an effective system for communication and sharing the condition of the patient, previous and planned treatment, and medication with every member of the healthcare system including the patient himself (Simpson, 2015). According to the Meaningful Use criteria and the legal mandates, eligible professionals and hospitals should demonstrate skills in working with the electronic health records. What is even more, eligible professionals and hospitals “must adopt certified EHR technology and use it to achieve specific objectives” (EHR incentives and certification, 2016, para. 2), such as improving the quality of healthcare services, evoke positive shifts in communication between the doctors and the patients, grant the patients access to their medical information, improve the health of the population, etc.


Today, there are many developers of electronic health records systems. They are provided as additional apps for computers, tablets, and smartphones. With the help of these apps, doctors have got the possibility to save their time and increase the level of productivity because all the needed information about the patient from the medical history to prescriptions and treatment is always with them. What is more, this system gives straightforward access to make changes such as adding the newest information in the patients’ charts (CareCloud: An EHR you’ll love to use, 2016).


Bracco, D., & Labeau, F. (2015). Electronic health record: What do you expect from them? Critical Care Medicine, 43(6), 1342-1344.

CareCloud: An EHR you’ll love to use. (2016). Web.

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EHR incentives and certification. (2016). 

Electronic health records infographic. (2011). 

Leavitt, M. (2002). Electronic medical records (EMR). In K. Beaver (Ed.), Healthcare information systems (pp. 257-287). Boca Raton, FL: Auerbach Publications.

Simpson, K. R. (2015). Electronic health records. The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing, 40(1), 68.

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