“Virtuosic Craft or Clerical Labour: the Rise of the Electronic Health Record and Challenges to Physicians’ Professional Identity (1950-2022)”

A doctor check his patients' paperwork
Doctor at the GP office working with prescriptions. Kirov, Russia. Photo: Dmitry Kirillov / World Bank on Flickr

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In this article, Lakshmi Krishnan and Michael Neuss tackle the debate around the electronic health record (EHR), by following key moments in the history of the early computer-based patient record from the late 1950s to the EHR of the present day. In linking physician identity development, clinical epistemological structures, and the rise of the computer-based medical record in the USA in the mid-to-late twentieth century, Krishnan and Neuss ask why the EHR is such a polarising entity in contemporary medicine, and situate clinician/EHR tensions in a longer history of aspirational physician identity and a kind of technological optimism that soon gave way to pessimism surrounding computer-based clinical work.

Read the journal article.