Moving From Problem-Oriented to Goal-Directed Health Records

Zsolt J. Nagykaldi*, Huibert Tange, Jan De Maeseneer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Electronic health records (EHRs) have been in place for decades; however, most existing systems were designed in the prevailing disease-and payment-focused care paradigm that often loses sight of the goals, needs, and values of patients and clinicians. The goal-directed health care model was proposed more than 20 years ago, but no design principles have been developed for corresponding electronic record systems. Newly designed EHRs are needed to facilitate health care that is anchored by patient life and health goals. We explore the limitations of current EHRs and propose a blueprint for a new EHR design that may facilitate goal-directed health care. To reflect patient goals as a thread through the care continuum, we propose 5 major system functions for goal-directed health records based on the 8 characteristics of primary health care defined by the Institute of Medicine. We also discuss how new EHR functions could support goal-directed health care and how payment and quality measurement systems will need to be transformed. It may be possible for patient life and health goals to drive health care that is reinforced by a corresponding health record design; however, synchronized shifts must occur in the models of providing, documenting, and paying for health care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-159
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Family Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • problem-oriented
  • goal-directed
  • medical record
  • documentation
  • primary care


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