The wave has finally broken: now what?
- 1Old Downieville Hwy, Nevada City, California, USA
- 2Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA
- 3Department of Health Services Administration, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA
- Correspondence to Dr Donald W Simborg, 407 Old Downieville Hwy, Nevada City, CA 95959, USA;
- Received 19 November 2012
- Revised 1 March 2013
- Accepted 2 March 2013
- Published Online First 28 March 2013
In 2005, the authors published a paper, ‘Will the wave finally break? A brief view of the adoption of electronic medical records in the United States’, which predicted that rapid adoption of electronic health records (EHR) would occur in the next 5 years given appropriate incentives. The wave has finally broken with the stimulus of the health information technology for economic and clinical health legislation in 2009, and there have been both positive and negative developments in the ensuing years. The positive developments, among others described, are increased adoption of EHR, the emergence of a national network infrastructure and the recognition of clinical informatics as a medical specialty. Problems that still exist include, among others described, continued user interface problems, distrust of EHR-generated notes and an increased potential for fraud and abuse. It is anticipated that in the next 5 years there will be near universal EHR adoption, greater emphasis on standards and interoperability, greater involvement of Congress in health information technology (IT), breakthroughs in user interfaces, compelling online medical and IT education, both increased use of data analytics for personalized healthcare and a realization of the difficulties of this approach, a blurring of the distinction between EHR and telemedicine, a resurgence of computer-assisted diagnosis and the emergence of a ‘continuously learning’ healthcare system.