EMR vs EHR? Understand the Difference

EMR vs EHR? To begin differentiating between the two, it’s important to understand the shift in the medical industry. The growing advancements in the medical field within the past 50 years have tremendously improved our medical knowledge, as well as transformed research and development for treatment options. Because of this, those with chronic conditions have been living much longer. While this is good news, it posed a need for addressing the way doctors have access to medical charts and other information: electronic medical records (EMR).

Adopting electronic medical records (EMR) systems was extremely beneficial to the healthcare industry and the way healthcare providers can view and exchange information about their patients. An EMR is simply a digital version of paper charts in a doctor’s office. Primary care providers can now view data collected over time as a report and easily note and identify any alarming changes. Disease management and chronic disease outcome have dramatically improved quality of care and screening rates for preventative measures.

EMRs have raised the quality of care, but they’ve also helped physicians’ workflows. Adopting an EMR system has numerous benefits for any practice. Clinicians can manage their time efficiently (reducing time searching for paper results and reports) and access lab results more quickly. They can also grant remote access to patient charts and receive medication error alerts. They can even get reminders for preventative care such as mammograms or colonoscopies.

While an EMR is a digitized medical chart, an EHR system is a little different. An EHR (electronic health record) system is a digitized system of all types of health information. It provides a holistic view of a patient’s records and is easily accessible by different providers. An EMR, on the other hand, is used within individual practices and not meant to be shared. Cloud technology supports both EMR and EHR systems. It provides practically unlimited storage capacity for records for extended periods of time. This technology also ensures that there is no data loss and patient information is protected from any natural or artificial disasters.

Adopting an EMR/EHR system improves both quality of care of patients and information exchange between providers, a positive impact on all sides. Medicare and Medicaid offer an EHR incentive payment on the condition that there is meaningful use. There’s no need to “pick a side” in EMR vs EHR. Sharing information in a secure way makes it much more powerful; after all—healthcare is a team effort!