EHR vs. EMR: The Differences
Due to the similarity in name, many people believe that EHR (electronic health records) and EMR (electronic medical records) are one in the same.
However, there are many differences to be aware of. For this reason, the terms should not be used interchangeably.
The primary difference between the two is that an electronic medical record is a digital version of a chart that is stored in a computer, while an electronic health record is a digital record of health information.
Here are some additional differences between the two:
- Efficient sharing of real time information.
- Allows a patient’s medical records to follow him or her.
- Access to technology based tools that improve provider care and decision making.
- Not designed for sharing outside of each practice.
- Patient records are not easy to share with others.
- Used primarily by providers for the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
Benefits of an EHR
When comparing the two options, you will soon find that there are many benefits of an EHR that are not shared by an EMR. These include:
- The software system has the capability of storing everything that is typically included in a paper chart.
- Ability to better manage results, including but not limited to lab results and radiology reports.
- Prescription order entry. Gone are the days of using prescription pads.
- Electronic communications. This provides the opportunity for providers and patients to communicate electronically, all without giving up anything in terms of security.
- Patient support. This includes the option to provide patients with educational material via the EHR system.
- Advanced reporting. This allows you to answer questions such as: how many patients did you treat for a particular condition? With searchable data, you have access to everything you need.
Choosing an EHR
If you come to the conclusion that an EHR system is right for your practice, it’s time to make a final decision on how to move forward.
Choosing an EHR comes down to many things, including the following:
- Feature list.
- Required hardware.
- Implementation process.
- Availability of training and support.
All EHR systems may share the same basic goals, but that doesn’t mean they are one in the same. There are some key differences to be aware of, with the above list helping you find the software that best suits your practice.
There is no denying the fact that EHR and EMR are both changing the medical world for the better. Just remember this: these are not one in the same.