EMR (Electronic Medical Records) and EHR (Electronic Health Records) are digital records containing health and medical related information for a patient. It is becoming nearly mandatory for medical practices to carry and report their patient data in electronic format in order to meet new US Government Healthcare reporting requirements.
What is the difference between EMR and EHR? The terms are often used interchangeably.
EMR, or Electronic Medical records are the medical records of a patient at a given practice.
EHR or Electronic Health Records, are the totality of health related information (patient-based) for a given patient, and can be sent electronically to many medical ports of call: other doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, or government health related agencies such as Medicare and Medicaid for reimbursement.
Though in the long run EMR and EHR should improve the quality of healthcare for patients and make record keeping easier for doctors, in the short term they are not easy to integrate with a paper-based practice. There are vendors that can hold your hand and help you prepare for the process better than others. It is important for a practice to determine the level of support a vendor will provide, and to prepare a realistic implementation plan for the move to EMR / EHR.
EMR / EHR software is available via client server installation, or as a cloud-based and web accessible subscription service. See our discussion of cloud-based medical software for some understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of each.
When buying electronic medical records software, there are many issues to consider: