Modern healthcare facilities live and breathe data, whether safeguarding patients’ data or compiling in-office statistics. And they rely on digital knowledge information systems to maintain steady access to the information that keeps them running daily.
Electronic Health Records and Electronic Medical Records are two terms that have become very common in the medical world — specifically when it comes to storing healthcare data.
While these terms may seem interchangeable, they are two distinct systems. It’s necessary to understand the differences between EMR and EHR, as each type of system provides different benefits, features, and functions for a medical facility.
What Is an EMR (Electronic Medical Record)?
An EMR (Electronic Medical Record) is an electronic version of a patient’s medical records. An EMR captures the patient’s health information – including medical history, medications, test results, immunization records, and more – and stores it electronically.
Typically, an EMR is created and maintained by a singular practice or clinic using software that cannot be shared outside of their own practice. It is secure and confidential, protecting all aspects of the patient’s healthcare information.
What Is an EHR (Electronic Health Record)?
An EHR (Electronic Health Record) is much like an EMR but is more comprehensive in scope. Medical providers not only use EHR to store medical information but also for population health management, care coordination, and the exchange of health data between providers and organizations.
A clinic’s EHR is shared among multiple providers and care facilities so that physicians, nurses, and other caregivers can access the patient’s health information when necessary. An EHR is also typically a HIPAA-compliant cloud-based system, making it easier for providers to access the information when and where they need it.
EMR vs. EHR
The two key benefits of an EMR and EHR are accuracy and security. Both an EMR and EHR are secure, systematic ways of organizing information. Since an EMR is only stored within the practice or clinic, its data is less likely to be mistakenly changed or corrupted by someone beyond facility walls.
By having all of a patient’s medical information stored in one centralized location, continuity of care greatly improves with electronic medical records. For smaller medical practices, EMRs also have the potential to save time and improve patient experience, despite a potentially minimal daily patient count.
On the other hand, an EHR system offers greater flexibility and scalability due to its ability to exchange data between different providers and organizations. An EHR system also allows for more comprehensive population health management, improved care coordination, and better patient outcomes overall. Electronic health records are becoming the new standard for systematic information management in the healthcare field.
The Bottom Line
While EMRs and EHRs have their advantages and disadvantages, it is clear that EHR technologies are becoming increasingly adopted in the healthcare industry. EHR systems offer improved accuracy, security, and data exchange capabilities that can enable better patient care and physician coordination. Ultimately, the best choice between EMR and EHR will depend on the medical organization’s needs.