Will the wave finally break? A brief view of the adoption of electronic medical records in the United States

J Am Med Inform Assoc. Jan-Feb 2005;12(1):3-7. doi: 10.1197/jamia.M1664. Epub 2004 Oct 18.


For over thirty years, there have been predictions that the widespread clinical use of computers was imminent. Yet the "wave" has never broken. In this article, two broad time periods are examined: the 1960's to the 1980's and the 1980's to the present. Technology immaturity, health administrator focus on financial systems, application "unfriendliness," and physician resistance were all barriers to acceptance during the early time period. Although these factors persist, changes in clinicians' economics, more computer literacy in the general population, and, most importantly, changes in government policies and increased support for clinical computing suggest that the wave may break in the next decade.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Computers / history*
  • Computers / trends
  • Health Policy / trends
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / history
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / statistics & numerical data
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized / trends*
  • Technology Transfer*
  • United States