Electronic Health Records Software (EHR)
Electronic health records software, or EHR software, is a digital version of a patient’s paper chart. An electronic health records application makes it easier for providers to track and share real-time information with other medical professionals while maintaining privacy rules.
According to the Medical Records Institute, five levels of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) can be distinguished:
- The Automated Medical Record is a paper-based record with some computer-generated documents.
- The Computerized Medical Record (CMR) makes the documents of level 1 electronically available.
- The Electronic Health Record (EMR) restructures and optimizes the documents of the previous levels, ensuring inter-operability of all documentation systems.
- The Electronic Patient Record (EPR) is a patient-centered record with information from multiple institutions.
- The Electronic Health Record (EHR) adds general health-related information to the EPR that is not necessarily related to a disease.
Why Should I Use Electronic Health Records Software (EHR/EMR)?
- Immediate access to patient records at any given location
- Secure storage of referrals, messages, and clinical data
- Accurate and complete claims processing by insurance companies
- Clinical decision support tools at the point of care
- Complete flexibility and customization to support diverse practices and workflows
- Paperless charts
- Integration with all major information systems
- Patient population management
- Facilitation of HIPAA compliance
- Unparalleled implementation experience and user community
- Electronic prescriptions
- Built in automated checks for drug and allergy interactions
- Sending and viewing lab information
EMR vs EHR: There can be some confusion about the difference between EHR or electronic health records software and EMR or electronic medical records software; in fact, EHRs and EMRs refer to the same thing and have often been used interchangeably.
But the term “electronic health records” for software like APRIMA has been referenced far more frequently, probably due in part to its use by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and other organizations such as ONC (the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information). As of 2010, the CMS refers to the “meaningful use of an EHR,” and the ONC has clearly stated they use “EHR” and “electronic health records” almost exclusively, explaining “the word ‘health’ covers more options than ‘medical.'”