Since the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare (MHLW) issued its notice in April 1999 (approving the electronic storage of medical records), the introduction of electronic medical records at national universities, key regional hospitals, clinics, and other facilities has advanced. It should be noted that behind this trend and in line with the e-Japan concept there has been financial support from the MHLW and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). We, in 2001 "Regionally Shared Electronic Medical Record System Research and Development Project (METI)," proposed project plan via the Miyazaki and Kumamoto regions, and the
project was adopted for both regions. Thereupon, the joint development of a commonly accessible system began as the Dolphin Project. The Dolphin system was created to improve patient service, improve the quality of medical care, and achieve efficient medical care. A Data Center (iDolphin) was established to accumulate and manage clinical information in the regions and share clinical information safely and appropriately. The system has already been in operation for more 11 years. Even though a patient may have been examined at multiple hospitals, his medical record information will be integrated at the Center. This ensures medical care continuity and enables the patient to view his own medical records at home. Its usefulness in obtaining informed consent has been demonstrated as well. XML instances established in the MML standards (Medical Markup Language) are used for Electronic Medical Record System data exchange between the Data Center and each medical institution. The openness provided by XML makes it possible to connect diverse electronic medical records to the Center. As of the year 2007, four Data Centers has been established in Japan (Miyazaki, Kumamoto, Kyoto and Tokyo).
In order to provide a nation-wide information service, Super Dolphin Project started in 2005. The Super Dolphin Server has two important functions. The first one is super directory by which a patient can search his medical records over the plural data centers. The second one is data mapping function which can convert a type of XML instance to another one. Using this Super site, a nation-wide medical data exchange became possible.