The May 28, 2007 issue of InformationWeek included a comprehensive article titled Why Progress Toward Electronic Health Records Is Worse Than You Think. It cuts through much of the hype about the US experience with EHRs and cites a number of examples.
While there is evidence of an increase in the use of electronic health information systems, the long sought-after change in health care provider behaviour, data-sharing, is lagging far behind. The most encouraging example cited was the Indiana RHIO created by the Regenstrief Institute, which was developed over 30 Years! "The secret of success is having patience," says Dr. Marc Overhage, Regenstrief's director of medical informatics.
My own experience is that any successful system in health care takes at least 10 years from first concept to full implementation and integration into business processes (not including implementation of straightforward and mature HIS's - note the near-obsession with PACS as an early win in the EHR game). 30 years is not unrealistic for the integration of many disparate systems and the associated changes in health care provider behaviour through what amounts to a complete re-engineering of the care delivery process. Most proponents of EHRs will argue that that's not good enough.
Perhaps not, but it is reality.