Healthy Data Blog

A Brief History of the EMR

Posted by Chantel Soumis on Sep 30, 2016 8:02:00 AM


Healthcare regulations and processes continue to change. Tools that have been adopted and adapted throughout the evolution of healthcare technology include the EHR (electronic health record) and the EMR (electronic medical record). The EHR and EMR are complementary technologies, providing more benefit together than on their own.

While many healthcare employees use the EHR and EMR daily, we seldom understand the rich history of the technological solution. The following is a brief historical overview of electronic medical records.

History of the EMR

If you didn't already know, EMR stands for electronic medical record. According to, an EMR contains the standard medical and clinical data gathered in one provider’s office.

The EMR began as an idea of recording patient information in electronic form, instead of on paper, in the late 1960’s, Larry Weed presented the EMR concept to generate an electronic record to allow a third party to independently verify the diagnosis. Weed’s vision focused on clinical data management. These systems were also known as hospital information systems.

The first EMR was developed in 1972 by the Regenstreif Institute and was welcomed as a major advancement in healthcare/medical practice. Due to the high costs, this EMR wasn’t as widely used as anticipated, and was primarily utilized by government hospitals.

Into the 1990’s, computers were becoming more affordable and became more common as the internet emerged and the Institute of Medicine projected that by the year 2000, every physician’s office should use computers improve patient care.

During president George W. Bush’s tenure in office, the budget doubled for healthcare IT projects along with the need for industry-wide adoption of electronic health record systems. This mandate has been supported by Obama through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to provide additional funding and incentives to healthcare professionals who adopt EMR systems.

Components within an EMR include:

  • patient registration
  • scheduling
  • patient encounters documentation
  • prescriptions
  • document management
  • requesting and receiving labs/imaging reports
  • clinical decision support
  • interoffice communications

As EMRs and EHRs continue to evolve with the advancements of technology, we are constantly developing solutions to the many issues of electronic data. The following are the most common problems and solutions in the EMR.

Problem: According to, physicians resent the task of documentation and duplication of effort the EMR requires as it takes away from their primary task of taking care of patients.

Solution: Having an automated intelligent data extraction software, Extract takes the pain away from transcription by reading paper documents, classifying by document type and extracts clinical data into discrete fields within the EMR. This saves the physician valuable time so they can focus on providing exceptional patient care. In addition, the data extraction promotes accuracy from manual data entry errors.

Problem: The data collected and stored in EMRs are not easy to share with outside providers. A patient’s record is commonly printed out and delivered by mail to other providers within the care team.

Solution: Various interfaces cause traffic jams when sending information to outside providers. Extract solves this problem by adding structure to non-structured documents into the EMR, using tools like AKA’s to add consistency and reporting via HL7. Documents can be sent immediately and securely to outside sources with restrictive access.


To learn more about Extract’s innovative solution to EMR accuracy, duplication, documentation management and clinical data extraction, click the button below. Someone will reach out to you shortly to listen to your pain points and brainstorm a customized solution for your workflow.

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