The Surprise of Broad EMR Adoption

Pat Rioux on LinkedIn made the following comment about a possible surprise that could come from the move to broad EMR adoption:

I hope the biggest surprise that we get from this huge undertaking is that we finally have providers wondering how they did their job without an EMR in the past. Improvement that is measurable speaks for itself. Patients who finally have access to their medical data and become participants in their own healthcare will be the best reward.

Well said. I’d also add that there are going to be a whole group of doctors in 5 years who never knew how to practice medicine without an EMR. There’s challenges with this too, but it’s an interesting view. Not to mention doctors who’ve been on an EMR for 10-15 years and can barely remember what it was like using a paper chart.

Yes, a few doctors will start using their EMR and miss the great chart hunt they use to embark on to find a missing chart. Or…

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • The same can be said about its disadvantages. Not that I am pessimistic, I just want everybody to realize that computerization also has problems of its own. One thing for sure is that medical records can now be easily accessed, not only by the patients but also by people who has a different agenda for the records (if the security was breacched). They can use the records for about anything, say, identity theft, medical sabotage, (worst would be) for terrorist’s intelligence, or as simple as advertisement demographics.

    It is very important that ONC figure out a very secure exchange interface in EMR that hospitals and patients can use to exchange medical data. JP

  • Jojo,
    I think the fear of someone capturing the medical records online is pretty overblown. While it’s certainly possible, even with the poorest of security implementation it would take a reasonable technical person to really pull down someone’s medical records.

    Certainly, we need to put great IT security measures in place. Certainly we need to address the challenge of securing the data. However, if it’s done right, it’s more secure and safer than a paper chart which has no audit capability at all.

  • I surely agree. All I am saying is that the convenience of electronic is directly proportional to its advantages and disadvantages. Technical computer knowledge is everywhere nowadays. I remember when my daughter was only 2 years old she held a mouse and started playing on a computer. I held a computer when I was 17 in college. That is a huge difference. Cheers. JP

  • Gonna have to agree with Jojo on this one, but not because of the health information per se; rather, for the identifying information that someone could use for theft and scams. Just today there was an article out about some of the security problems cropping up in the world of online banking, and how consumers can unwittingly become accomplices in their own defraudment.

    That doesn’t mean I’m going to give up online banking any time soon, though, or that I think medical records shouldn’t be available through electronic means. Most of the breaches we have now are due to these files being in some vulnerable, physical format. However, people are going to have to learn and follow basic security strategies for their online presence. Sharks will follow blood, and the more there is in the cloud, the more someone will want to get at it.

  • You’re right. Most of the current breaches are on physical format. In fact, I’m not sure I remember any instances where a medical record was taken through electronic means. Closest has been lists of SSN from a health insurance plan, but that was more of a financial hack than for the medical data.

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