A Brief History Of Electronic Medical Records

As technology continues to improve, we see more and more advancements in the healthcare industry. One of which is the development of the electronic medical record or EMR for a more efficient and streamlined workflow in medical facilities. Read along as we discuss a brief history of EMR. We will also talk about the various vital figures that played crucial roles in developing electronic medical records in the Philippines.


We see various changes in the regulations and processes in the healthcare industry. The strategies, tools, and equipment that medical professionals and their staff use in their daily business operations have also been modified and improved over the years. As mentioned above, one of the technological solutions built to assist in managing medical records and processes is the electronic medical record (EMR) system. These EMR systems provide various benefits for the healthcare industry.

A short historical narrative of electronic medical records follows, including the key figures in their creation and development.


Medical records have been evolving throughout history since Hippocrates in the 5th century (BCE). That makes around 4000 years of continuous developments since the modern world discovered the earliest medical records attributed to Hippocrates and other medieval physicians.

Fast-forward to 19th century Europe when formal medical records first appeared in major teaching medical institutions. Not long after, the rest of the world started adopting them. Then, in the 20th century, medical practitioners developed the modern medical record. These medical records were composed of patient information and were recorded, organized following a standardized format, and stored.

However, medical professionals still wrote these medical records manually on paper. As such, there arose specific problems, particularly the lack of standardization across various physicians and medical facilities. Medical professionals and their staff also encountered problems when it came to searchability. They also experienced data loss due to multiple reasons.


Dr. Lawrence Weed conceptualized the idea behind EMR in the late 1960s. Weed was an American physician and a researcher, an educator, an entrepreneur, and an author.

There was a need to record patient information in an electronic format instead of using paper during that time. Weed observed as he accompanied his students at Yale. He was a professor of medicine and pharmacology there then. He saw how they struggled to make sense of indecipherable patient notes made by doctors.

As a result, Weed presented the concept of the electronic medical record. His concept aimed to generate a patient’s electronic record to let a third party verify the medical doctor’s diagnosis. Weed wanted the EMR concept to address and enhance clinical data management. People also knew Weed’s EMR concept as hospital information systems.

Weed also developed the computerized medical information system he coined PROMIS, based on the problem-oriented medical record he built previously. He officially introduced PROMIS in 1969. The medical information system used a touch screen. Everyone considers this as one of the earliest versions of an electronic medical record.

After that, Weed launched a company called PKC. The company developed various methods for clinical information management systems. Later on, in 2012, Sharecare, a digital health company, acquired PKC.

Considered a pioneer in electronically recording patient data and information, Weed died at the age of 93 on June 3, 2017.


The Regenstreif Institute, a research organization based in Indiana, USA, developed the first EMR in 1972. Everyone considered it as a significant development in the healthcare industry, particularly in the medical field and practice. However, because of the high costs needed for its implementation and maintenance during that time, only government hospitals could utilize it.

Fortunately, later in the 1990s, computers started becoming more accessible and affordable to the public, along with the spread of the internet and the world wide web. Then, during former US President George W. Bush’s administration, the budget for healthcare IT projects doubled. Bush also promoted the need for industry-wide adoption of electronic medical record systems.


In 2009, former US President Barack Obama further pushed and supported Bush’s mandate through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which aimed to provide more funding and incentives to healthcare professionals who adopt EMR systems in their operations.

Because of these actions, companies worldwide started developing more and more EMR systems and packages.


We hope you found the evolution of electronic medical records interesting. We also hope you can now see the importance of adopting electronic medical records in your work operations.

If you wish to implement EMR into your practice, hit us up at PxTrack, a leading provider of electronic medical records systems in the Philippines. Then, should you have other questions about EMR systems, please do not hesitate to send us an email or leave a comment below!



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Pamela Salon

To empower Businesses & SMEs to CONNECT, OPERATE & TRANSACT effectively with their clients through Online and Business Solutions