Promise and reality: this review addresses two questions. First, why is the introduction of the computerized patient record (CPR) so slow, while its potential for improved quality of care and reduction of cost is well recognized? Second, what, in this respect, is the role of record architecture and standardization? Barriers: the impediments for CPR adoption are put in a larger context by addressing the relationship among effort, benefit, and the parties involved. An important financial impediment is insufficient return of investment. Other hurdles related to the use of CPRs are lack of integration and flexibility, which cause clinicians to experience insufficient reward to motivate them for data entry and changes in working style. Effort and benefit have to be balanced for each party involved. Requirements for improvement: lack of standardization impedes exchange and sharing of medical data, and new developments cause fear of applications to become outdated. Flexibility in content and use, integration, and adaptability to change, are key requirements for CPR systems. These requirements can most effectively be met through an architecture that separates content and structure, such that the road to standardization is not paved with frequent expensive adaptations. Strategies for implementation: successful implementation and acceptance require reliable evaluation of applications by independent professional groups. Users need to be involved in setting priorities and planning for actual implementation.

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International Journal of Medical Informatics
Department of Medical Informatics

van Ginneken, A.M. (2002). The computerized patient record: Balancing effort and benefit. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 65(2), 97–119. doi:10.1016/S1386-5056(02)00007-2