Electronic patient records and the impact of the Internet

Int J Med Inform. 2000 Nov;60(2):77-83. doi: 10.1016/s1386-5056(00)00106-4.


The term electronic patient record (EPR) means the electronic collection of clinical narrative and diagnostic reports specific to an individual patient. A true EPR should allow physicians and nurses to practice in a paperless fashion. The wide adoption of Internet technologies should allow truly distributed sharing of patient data across traditional organizational barriers. Hence, the meaning of an EPR, as a representation of documents, should be transformed into a collaborative environment that supports workflow, enables new care models and allows secure access to distributed health data. This paper reviews the current realization of EPRs in the context of paper-based medical records. The Internet architecture that Boston-based medical informatics researchers refer to as W3-EMRS is described in the context of a successful implementation of CareWeb at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical center. Finally, we describe how this Internet-based approach can be extended beyond the boundaries of traditional care settings to help evolve new collaborative models of eHealth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Computer Security
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Medical Informatics
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized*