Podcast: The Slow, Frustrating Rise of the Electronic Health Record

Jack Murtha
JUNE 22, 2018


Interoperability. Electronic health records, better known as EHRs. It’s possible that no two things in health IT are more discussed—and groaned over. But it’s also possible that no two things have the same potential to improve medicine and the patient experience.

Despite their promise, EHRs have largely disappointed healthcare stakeholders, including patients, and contributed to the lack of interoperability. But why does it matter? Who loses, and in which ways, when medical information is locked away?

>> LISTEN: Overcoming the Cultural Resistance to Health Tech

Today on Data Book, we bring you a couple of stories that highlight the who and what. We start with the story of Seema Verma, MPH, the head of CMS, and her husband. Out of state, they were unable to retrieve his medical records after an emergency.

Later, we welcome back Janae Sharp, a health IT expert and the founder of a physician suicide monitoring project called the Sharp Index. She shares the details of a bumpy move from Pennsylvania to Utah, which resulted in the loss of her children’s immunization records. That conundrum forced her to play the part of anti-vaxxer.

In between those tales, however, your hosts, Tom Castles and I, give a brief but punchy history of the EHR. We begin with the advent of the medical record—the paper-based medical record, that is—and then we tell the story of the people, innovations, and movements that got us where we are today.

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