The Differences between EMR and EHR
In 2008 the National Alliance for Health Information Technology (NAHIT) provided some definitions for EMR and EHRs that helped to clarify the distinction between these two terms. Even though NAHIT is no longer active, these definitions continue to be used today, although quite often EMR vs EHR references are used interchangeably.
Electronic Health Record (EHR)
EHR is a health industry standard record for a specific patient. The EHR can be used by more than one health care provider or organization, and can be updated by more than one provider or organization.
Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
EMR is also a patient-specific record built according to health industry standards. However the EMR is updated by a specific health care provider or organization only.
EMR vs EHR
Although these terms are often used interchangeably a difference can be defined. EMR can be defined as the legal patient record of use created by the hospital, clinic or provider. The source of EMR data is the EHR system used by the provider staff for data entry and collection. For those not in the Healthcare industry you can think of EHRs as the Enterprise Resource Planning systems from SAP and Oracle for the Healthcare industry. Instead of SAP and Oracle though, you have companies like Allscripts, NextGen and Cerner.
In both the EMR and EHR cases, the use of electronic patient health information has grown in use across the United States. This growth is not only because of the federal government mandates in order to qualify for certain Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. The growth can also be attributed to the very practical and rational reasons to use technology for patient records:
- Security has enabled electronic records to be stored safely and viewable only by authorized persons.
- Costs to implement these systems are going down, particularly with cloud computing solutions.
- Ease of use has improved as physicians and health care providers become more comfortable with technology – particularly mobile devices.
- Integration with pharmacies, drug companies, hospitals and other providers makes prescription checks and other activities much easier.
While EHR vs EMR can be interchangeable terms, it is important to note the distinction between the two while discussing options and solutions for your medical practice.