What’s the difference between EMR and EHR?
In the healthcare IT world, words such as EMR and EHR are used interchangeably. Realistically, each of these words mean something different. Let’s dive into what EMR and EHR mean, and how they are similar, but different.
What is an Electronic Medical Record, or EMR?
Think of those paper charts that took up SO much of your office space. Now, think of an office free of shelves upon shelves of medical records. The main function of an EMR is to digitally store a patient’s chart. An EMR contains the medical and treatment history obtained at that individual practice. An EMR system is designed to do the following…
- Reduce physical storage space
- Track changes in medical data over time
- Monitor and improve care quality
Now, with most EMRs, this information is meant to be maintained for that practice’s records and is NOT easily transferred out of the practice.
What is an Electronic Health Record, or EHR?
All of those great tools an EMR provides are also found in an EHR… plus a lot more. EHRs collect a broader standard of patient care to help you, as a provider, create the best plan of treatment. This type of systems helps doctors to communicate with other doctors outside of their office by allowing them to transfer data to other providers, labs, and specialists. With an EHR system, patient’s charts have the ability to follow them throughout their healthcare journey.
- Through tools like the Patient Portal, patients can view the information collected in the EHR within the convenience of their own home.
- Lab results can be viewed by all care providers that need to access the information. (EHR systems promote interoperability!)
- Information collected in the EHR can prevent specialists, hospitals, and other providers from prescribing medications that have an adverse reaction to the patient.
How are both of these tools similar?
Both the EMR and EHR systems are designed to help providers better treat their patients while being able to streamline tasks and increase medical practice efficiency. Though these products offer different functionality, both are built to improve satisfaction among both patient and providers.