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EMR vs EHR – What’s the Difference?


In the field of medicine, there are innumerable words that can be used to describe the various specializations, specifically in diseases, cures, and even treatment.

In today’s world, there are two terminologies that are often used interchangeably, for good and bad.

The first one is called the EMR, which stands for the electronic medical record, while the other is EHR which refers to an electronic health record.

However, despite its various functions, both the EHR and EMR share some similar attributes that will enable us to further understand its contribution in achieving success, particularly, in terms of the technology investment as well as the practice itself.

Interestingly, the difference with the single letter entails a vast uniqueness of these terms.

Since both EMR and EHR incorporates the records of the patient’s health information, we can infer that they are essential and have been inculcated within a patient and a doctor relationship.

As the name so obviously describes, an EMR can be illustrated clearly as the digital version of the patient’s chart.

This includes thorough data of the patient’s medical records as well as the treatment history from different fields of expertise.

As with any medical record, this digital record is archived in the doctor’s office with full confidentiality and will not be exposed to anyone.

Hence, when the patient changes his/her doctor, the patient’s EMR is impossible to follow.

We should note therefore that the data gathered through an EMR should be enclosed between the doctor and its patient for safety purposes.

On the other hand, an EHR involves the patient’s records from his/her various doctors and supplies a more holistic and long-term view with regards to the patient’s health.

In addition, it contains their demographics, medical history, history of their present illness (HPI), and lastly, the medications.

Unlike the EMR, an EHR should be available wherever the patient goes and can also be shared through healthcare providers.

However, knowing that it is an all-inclusive approach specifically with the patient’s records, EHR greatly contributes in order to monitor and assess the patient’s progress when it comes to his/her health updates and even for follow-ups.

Further, it can also aid the clinicians to reach a greater scope of the patient’s data compared to an EMR that is limited in some ways.

Thus, this access creates a wiser and practical decision and planning.

Moreover, it also meets a meaningful usage in terms of standards, particularly for incentive programs that have been initiated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

This requirement is a major factor that encourages the healthcare industry to further patronize and use the EHR systems.

Nevertheless, both EMRs and EHRs enable the healthcare system to become more efficient and less costly.

Yet, conducting thorough clinical data and focusing on the holistic approach of each patient’s health demands mostly an EHR solution.

Additionally, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), has recognized and highly recommends the use of a national health IT infrastructure given with the technological advancement and today’s modernization, the field of medicine must upgrade in order to provide excellent services that will meet the demands of the patient’s needs.

About the author

Katie Brownley

Health & IT Journalist covering Cybersecurity News, Data Breaches and Security Industry News. Email is open for DM and News Tips are Welcome

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