The Impact of the Global, Extensible Electronic Health Record

The Impact of the Global, Extensible Electronic Health Record

David W. Forslund (Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA) and David G. Kilman (Theragraphics, Inc., USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-65-0.ch001


With the arrival of the “World Wide Web,” we have witnessed a transition toward a truly global perspective with respect to electronic health records. In recent years, much more discussion has focused on the potential for international virtual electronic health records and what is required for them to become a reality in the world today (Kilman & Forslund, 1997). As the Internet becomes more ubiquitous and Web-enabled, we see access to electronic health records using these technologies becoming more commonplace. Even so, these Web-enabled health records still remain technologically isolated from other medical records in the distributed continuum of care; much of the standardization challenge still stands before us. We have witnessed startling technological advances, but we still face considerable obstacles to the goal of having globally standardized electronic health records. In this chapter we describe some of the issues associated with Web-enabled health records, the role of standards in the evolution of Web-enabled health records, and some of the barriers to the development of globally accessible electronic health records. We discuss possible ways to overcome these barriers and the kinds of benefits and opportunities that global health records will help provide. The global scale perspective makes more evident the very real and potentially tragic consequences of prolonged and unnecessary delays in deploying these technologies. Therefore, in an effort to promote a fuller consciousness of health safety, the chapter concludes with a comparative look at the negative impact of impediments in the movement toward global extensible electronic health records.

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