In 1972, the Regenstreif Institute proudly rolled out the first electronic medical records (EMRs) to physician practices. The electronic forms touted the ability to centralize data, reduce or eliminate paper files, and access data from multiple computer stations. Even with the distinction of “first” and “only” labels, the response of the medical community was decidedly lackluster, thanks to high costs and many questions. Around 1982, PCs began to go mainstream and in 1993 the Internet was born. These advances reignited the possibility that centralized, electronic records could enhance administrative and patient care management, after all.
By the year 2000, integration of EMR technology had gained traction and the digital revolution transformed the capabilities of EMRs. Universal, even mandated implementation ushered in a new era of tracking, sharing and dispensing patient care. All told, electronic medical records took nearly four decades to realize.
Today, the digitalization of health care management and treatment is advancing faster than ever—and hospitals are scrambling to keep pace. MDDI’s recent article highlights what lies ahead as distributed care models and digitalization promise to keep providers, patient data, and even patients themselves, on their toes.