Computerworld has a good article on why electronic medical records are so slow to appear. Many people I’ve talked to believe that medical data is just harder to work with than other kinds of data. They see the barriers to electronic medical records as primarily technical. That’s hard to swallow when nearly every other sector of the economy has electronic records. As the Computerworld article says, we’ve had the technology to pull this off for 30 years. There are more plausible economic explanations for why EMRs are uncommon. In a nutshell, the party that pays to develop an EMR is not the party that reaps most of the financial benefit so there’s little incentive to move forward.