Skip to main content

Get the latest update on our emergency campaign:

EMRs are designed for billing, not for retaining information

February 11th, 2018 | 3 min read

By Matthew Loftus

The dirty secret of all electronic medical records (EMRs) is this: they are not primarily designed to help doctors record, review, or share information about their patients. No, they are primarily designed to capture the data necessary to submit bills to insurance companies and the benefit to doctors and patients is merely incidental. If you’ve ever seen a printout of a medical note, you have noticed how long, bizarre, redundant, and confusing it seems. This is because it is designed to be most legible for the purposes of billing. But it’s not just incomprehensible printouts — this purpose is reflected in many different aspects of EMRs’ design.

Sign in to read more

Sign in or create a free account to access Subscriber-only content. 

Sign in


Matthew Loftus

Matthew Loftus teaches and practices Family Medicine in Baltimore and East Africa. His work has been featured in Christianity Today, Comment, & First Things and he is a regular contributor for Christ and Pop Culture. You can learn more about his work and writing at