Discussions concerning the electronic health record (EHR) are often erudite and theoretical, in part because the EHR is less a destination than a journey (Denis Protti, University of Victoria, personal communication). At one level, it is a compendium of health data repositories. This level of complexity may require a "view only" functionality. At another level, the EHR is an element of a complex clinical decision support system that is at the core of processes to improve patient safety and quality of care. At this level, a "view and do" functionality may be required.