EHR vs EMR – What’s the difference?

After attending a recent trade show, it became apparent that organizations with similar products will use EHR vs EMR – prompting me to ask, what is the difference between these two common terms?

Electronic Health Records are digital versions of health records. According to HealthIT.gov:

Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are a digital version of the paper charts in the clinician’s office. An EMR contains the medical and treatment history of the patients in one practice…EMRs allow clinicians to track data over time, easily identify which patients are due for preventative screenings or checkups, check how their patients are doing on certain parameters — such as blood pressure readings or vaccinations — and monitor and improve overall quality of care within the practice.

An Electronic Health Record is defined by HealthIT.gov’s Meaningful Use in 2015: A History of Meaningful Use report as:

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) do [all the things done by EMRs] — and more. EHRs focus on the total health of the patient — going beyond standard clinical data collected in the provider’s office and inclusive of a broader view on a patient’s care. EHRs are designed to reach out beyond the health organization that originally collects and compiles the information. They are built to share information with other health care providers, such as laboratories and specialists, so they contain information from all the clinicians involved in the patient’s care.

So based on this information, we can see the EHRs are a more inclusive, comprehensive term for the PHI healthcare companies have on the people within their systems. The definition of EHRs as being designed to reach beyond the health organization is key – with the advent of increased penetrability and data sharing, focus is on EHRs and their utility.

EHRs can be unlocked to provide insight into new treatments and cures, improved outcomes, decreased costs and better patient care overall. Of course, with these initiatives to share data come concerns for patient privacy.

Risk-based de-identification offers the optimal trade-off between data utility and granularity and protecting patient privacy. Learn how organizations are leveraging de-identified data by making sure to read our case studies.

For more on the difference between EHRs and EMRs, check out this video by Technology advice:

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