Compared to paper records, current electronic health records (EHRs) improve access to complete and accurate patient data. They may reduce medical errors and costs and improve quality of care. However, care is improved primarily within the organization sharing an EHR. There are many proprietary EHRs, with differing data structures. A patient’s data is often fragmented across multiple organizations that may utilize different EHRs. Since data is siloed with multiple stakeholders, usually a patient’s comprehensive historical record is not readily available.

Health care providers who generate the data usually restrict its sharing. This is in part because of issues of data ownership, data security, patient privacy and regulatory requirements. There are concern about security breaches while transferring data. Current EHRs are implemented on centralized servers, and such systems are prime targets for hackers. A problem with a server can cripple...

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