WHAT IS AN EHR

Electronic Health Records (EHR)

OR

Electronic Medical Records (EMR)

How Does the EHR Differ From the EMR?

Although quite frequently being used interchangeably, en EHR greatly varies form An EMR. While an EHR happens to be a health information repository in digital format, an EMR is the chart in digital format that stores patient information.

What is EHR?

Electronic Health Records (EHR) is the patient health record in the electronic format. Containing all relevant and necessary information about patients that are found in the erstwhile paper chart, EHRs include more useful information too. Information included are vital signs, past health history, diagnoses, immunization dates, physicians' progress notes, lab and imaging reports, and allergies. In addition, other related information such as demographic data, insurance data, and even the information that may be imported from other personal wellness technology and devices may be include in EHRs.

EHR is considered powerful not only because of the critical data in it but also because of the ease and convenient way it offers for sharing medical data. Making health information accessible instantly among various authorized providers across different health facilities and practices, EHRs help them to coordinate care and make information-based clinical decisions. EHRs may be shared among health organizations and clinicians related to patients' care such as specialists, pharmacies, labs, imaging facilities, emergency medical centers, and clinics located in educational institutions and workplaces.

EHRs prove to be essential in meeting the requirements of Meaningful Use that is a Medicaid and Medicare program supporting EHR use for improving patient care. It is essential that providers follow certain pre-defined criteria that serve as guidelines to make use of EHR effectively and for achieving Meaningful Use and preventing penalties on Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements. EHRs are considered the future of healthcare as they are enriched with critical patient information that enables care coordination among providers in the healthcare environment and informs clinical decisions.

What is EMR?

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) comprises all the details that are found in a paper chart, such as diagnoses, medications, medical history, allergies, and immunization dates. Inside medical practices, EMRs work well, but use of EMRs is found to be limited as they do not travel out of the practice. In fact, it is required to print out the medical records of patients to be mailed to other providers who need them.

EMR Vs EHR - Trends in Usage

Although commonly used to denote the medical records of patients, EHRs find a more pronounced use today. EHR is being preferred by governing bodies such as the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information (ONC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). While CMS is found to use the terminology 'meaningful use of EHR,' the ONC frequently uses the terms 'EHR' and 'electronic health records,' describing that the word 'health' is more comprehensive than the word 'medical'.

While the term 'medical' is implying clinicians' diagnosis and treatment records, the term 'health' is seen to denote more broadly everything associated with the general conditions of the human body. According to reports, a large portion of practices have started adopting EHRs. Going beyond fundamental functionalities such as documentation and clinical notes, a fully functional EHR system can incorporate more of the practice workflows.

EHRs enable seamless integration of practices with peers and other members of the healthcare fraternity. This helps in improving care quality and care coordination, while increasing practice efficiency and patient participation. Costs can be reduced too.

EHR Vs EMR: the Benefits

When compared with paper-based records, the digital system of EHR provides additional tools for information management that help providers to achieve better efficiency and provide better care by efficient organization and interpretation of data in addition to reacting more efficiently to these data.

It is possible to connect specialists for supporting healthcare decision making, provide clinical reminder alerts, and analyze aggregate data for research and management.

Interactive EHR system prompts the user for additional information; it helps in enhancing the completeness of data in addition to collecting more data. Focusing on patient health, the EHR Software has been designed to share information among varied professionals, reach out beyond the source practices, and include useful information from all professionals involved in patients' care.

EHR Vs EMR: the drawbacks

EHRs and EMRs have their own disadvantages too. They prove to be a little expensive in initial implementation, since they call for investment on hardware, training, and support, in addition to the software unless procured from the right vendor such as 75Health.

EMR Vs EHR - the advantages

EHR has the following advantages over the EMR:

  • Order entry
  • Patient support
  • Results management
  • Support in administrative processes
  • Health information
  • Electronic connectivity and communications
  • Population health management and reporting

A large number of healthcare professionals and medical practices are making use of 75Health EHR Software.

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