EMRs and EHRs: What’s the Difference?

October 24, 2012
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There’s plenty of information about how electronic medical records (EMRs) and electronic health records (EHRs) are changing healthcare. But just what do these acronyms mean? Here’s a breakdown of the differences:

There’s plenty of information about how electronic medical records (EMRs) and electronic health records (EHRs) are changing healthcare. But just what do these acronyms mean? Here’s a breakdown of the differences:

EMRvsEHREMRs, used by physicians, contain the medical and treatment history of their patients within their own practice. These records are able to track patient data over time, identify which patients are due for preventive screenings and checkups, and monitor and improve overall quality of care, just to name a few features.

Because there are many different types of EMRs out there, they aren’t always compatible. An EMR doesn’t always travel easily out of a practice and may actually have to be printed in order to be seen by doctors at another practice.

EHRs do everything an Electronic Medical Record does and more. EHRs focus on the total health of the patient – going beyond standard physician data collected in the provider’s office and taking a broader view on a patient’s care. They are built to share information, such as medications and allergies a patient may have with other healthcare providers, including laboratories, other specialists and physicians. EHRs also allow patients to log on to their own records and see the trend of lab results over time. This can help motivate them to take their medications and keep up with any essential lifestyle changes. An EMR can’t do that.

Since healthcare is a team effort, it’s essential to have effective communication between all parties. With fully functional EHRs, all members of the team have ready access to the latest information, allowing for more coordinated, patient-centered care.