Tech Talk: EMR or EHR?

Healthcare in America is undergoing massive changes as a result of government policy and innovations in technology. Many of these changes are good and will result in more effective care being delivered faster. However, many of these changes are challenging, both for patients and the healthcare providers who service them.

One of the recent changes for healthcare practices is the requirement that all healthcare providers use an electronic system “In order to efficiently capture and share patient data efficiently“. This electronic system is called an EHR or Electronic Health Record, system. But in an example of what happens when two acronym-heavy industries (healthcare and I.T.) get together, there is some confusion between EHR and EMR, or Electronic Medical Record.

The difference between EMR and EHR is simple; it is the difference between “health” and “medical”. While “medical” relates only to the practice of medicine, “health” relates to much more of a patients life and lifestyle. Therefore an EMR contains only that information about a patient that relates to their medical care and condition, an EHR will contain a broader variety of health and lifestyle information as well as medically-related information about a patient.

While some people use EMR and EHR interchangeably, there is a difference between the two. EMRs were the precursor to today’s EHRs and were primarily for care providers from one organization to document and track medical treatment. Today’s EHRs are intended to be used by all care providers across organizations -and the patient- to be a central point of information about a patients holistic health status and care.

Still have questions about EMRs, EHRs, or another healthcare IT issue? Give us a call! Our managed healthcare IT team can help.