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THERESA is the name given to the computer-based patient record system at Emory University's Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.


The system was created as a result of a 1981 development contract with Medical Systems Development. Initial usage of the system started in 1983; however, development of the system was still ongoing in 1990.(1)

THERESA Computer-based Patient Record at Emory University

As the primary provider for over 350,000 people, Grady Memorial Hospital at Emory University has over 1,000 beds and handles over 45,000 admissions and 750,000 outpatient visits each year.(2) THERESA has been utilized with over 1.2 million patient encounters, resulting in more than 3.8 million patient encounter documents and 58 million searchable documents. Equally impressive, since its inception in 1983, the site has maintained an over 99.9% system uptime percentage.(3)

As an EMR system THERESA provides support for patient encounters, management, and research. Multiple views of the patient information (e.g., problem-oriented, time-oriented, and event-oriented) are possible. Further, the system was developed with security in mind(4); it offers enhanced flexibility in queries(1); and HL7 is used to accomplish communications and integration with other systems. The system is noted for its success in encouraging direct physician data entry(5) and for its decision support capabilities.(1,3) The system is still in use and has been the basis for successor systems offered by Medical Systems Development. While the largest implementation runs at Emory's Grady Memorial Hospital, the same software can also be run in a desktop system.(3)


  1. Dick R. S., Steen E. B., and Detmer, D. E. (Eds.). (2000). The Computer-Based Patient Record: An Essential Technology for Health Care, Revised Edition (pp. 117-118). Washington, DC: National Academies Press, Institute of Medicine. [1]
  2. Camp, HN. Technical challenges, past and future, in implementing THERESA: a one million patient, one billion item computer-based patient record and decision support system. Proceedings of SPIE, 2618, 83-86. [Abstract] [2]
  3. Medical Systems Development Corporation. (n.d.). THERESA at GHS. [3]
  4. Grady, M. L. and Schwatz, H. A. (1993). Automated Data Sources for Amublatory Care Effectiveness Research: Literature Review (p. 5). Darby, PA: DIANE Publishing Company. [4]
  5. National Institutes of Health (April 2006). Electronic Health Records Overview (p. 2). Maclean, VA: Mitre Corporation. [5]