Electronic medical record systems (EMRSs) currently do not lend themselves easily to cross-institutional clinical care and research. Unique system designs coupled with a lack of standards have led to this difficulty. The authors have designed a preliminary EMRS architecture (W3-EMRS) that exploits the multiplatform, multiprotocol, client-server technology of the World Wide Web. The architecture abstracts the clinical information model and the visual presentation away from the underlying EMRS. As a result, computation upon data elements of the EMRS and their presentation are no longer tied to the underlying EMRS structures. The architecture is intended to enable implementation of programs that provide uniform access to multiple, heterogeneous legacy EMRSs. The authors have implemented an initial prototype of W3-EMRS that accesses the database of the Boston Children's Hospital Clinician's Workstation.