EHR and the Real
Meaning of Technology
By Rodney W. Sappington, PhD (ABD)
The credit earned from the Quick CreditTM test accompanying this article may be applied to the AHRA certified radiology administrator (CRA) communication and information management domain.
• When we seek to transform healthcare
delivery through deploying EHR we are
doing something quite different from
merely gaining efficiency or attempting to save costs. We are transforming
how patients manage disease and a
• It is helpful to look to the history of
medicine and informatics and then
turn to voices in the field to get a
clearer idea of what kind of occasion
EHR adoption may represent.
•Automating care through systems
challenges an organization’s ability to
broker flows of complex information,
people, and efficiencies that may serve
many masters other than clinical.
• As EHR systems are adopted with the
hope of improved patient outcomes,
such systems will allow for new administrative power that will have unintended effects for how and who determines the future boundaries of health.
“How easy to slip into the old
mode, how hard to cling firmly to the
An electronic health record (EHR) is part
of a networked software system that pro-
cesses and delivers complex clinical infor-
mation at the point of care and provides
information on individual and population
levels of clinical reporting and decision
making. Not all EHRs are easily distin-
guishable from the more commonly
known electronic medical record
(EMR). From a technology perspective,
the boundaries between EHR and EMR
are often blurry. For the purposes of this
article, however, EHR is used to more fully
explore larger innovations in the automa-
tion and use of clinical information.