Current status of electronic health record dissemination in Japan

Hiroshi Tanaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The present paper describes the history and current status of the spread of electronic health records (EHR5)*2 and factors that facilitate or suppress their use, as well as discussing issues that relate to the further spread and future prospects of EHRs in Japan. The use of EHRs began in the latter half of the 1990s, and spread steadily because of subsidies initiated in 2002 by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Current adoption rates are similar in clinics and hospitals, with both showing average figures of 6-7%. In terms of the scale of facilities, more than 25% of large hospitals with 400 or more beds use EHRs, whereas the corresponding percentage is much lower among hospitals with less than 100 beds, indicating that the introduction of EHRs in small-scale hospitals is challenging. The use of EHRs is beneficial in that it allows the electronic storage of medical records, sharing of data among hospital staff members, and support for treatment planning by computerized critical path. The major problem involved in EHRs is the high cost of their introduction and maintenance, Issues to be solved for the future of EHRs include cost reduction, reimbursement for costs, and specialty-specific usage. In future, EHRs are expected to play a role as a basis for cooperation in providing successful regional health care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)399-404
Number of pages6
JournalJapan Medical Association Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Sept 1


  • Electronic health records
  • Healthcare information technology
  • Lifelong electronic health records

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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