Healthcare industry and government leaders have been talking about electronic medical record (EMR) systems and their vast potential for decades. However, many professionals at provider organizations are afraid that the technology won't live up to the clinical, operational and bottom-line benefits hyperbole. As such, EMR adoption remains relatively low. The author believes real progress will occur only when the industry makes healthcare leaders more comfortable with EMR decisions and the bottom-line impact they'll have. To start, the initial cost needs to be made easier to swallow for healthcare organizations. Once financial obstacles are cleared, the road to EMR success will be much easier to realize. In essence, what's needed to turn the EMR promise into a reality is the alignment of initial and ongoing financial incentives and the implementation of technology that actually helps organizations easily accrue the many benefits associated with clinical automation.