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  • EHR vs EMR: Understanding the Key Differences


    In recent years, the health industry in developed countries has moved towards electronic records from a long history of keeping paper records. Both Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) are such types of electronic records. The advancement of EMR and EHR in the industry has proven to be more efficient and accurate when compared to paper records.

    Since these two processes have entered the industry with the purpose of making records digital, the terms EHR and EMR are often used interchangeably. On the contrary, there exists an insurmountable difference between these two terms/processes that can’t be overlooked.

    One might ask, “What difference does one word make?” Even though the words: Medical and Health are somewhat related to each other, they represent two different functionings. The term ‘Medical’ often refers to the medical association of a patient with a practitioner in regards to treatment and diagnosis. Whilst, the term ‘Health’ relates to the overall well-being of a patient that consists of different aspects of the patient’s physical health.

    Understanding the Key Differences:

    Electronic Medical Records
    EMR is a digital record of a patient by a single practitioner of a single practice. The record consists of the details of medical history, diagnosis, and treatment by one particular nurse, doctor, physician, basically a practitioner. EMR offers several advantages over the paper records that were in use earlier but these paper records could never achieve the efficiency and accuracy of EMR. EMR has helped in keeping a better track of patient overtime, providing timely reminders to the practitioner as well as the patient about routine or critical medications, vaccinations, and/or checkups. It has improved patient care and efficiency at an overall level.

    Electronic Health Records
    It is also a digital record of patient charts but it is more inclusive of the information that it carries. It doesn’t just carry a patient’s medical association with a single practitioner but rather a holistic history of patient medical conditions from the beginning of their interaction with the health industry to the most recent point.

    These records are designed so that they can be immediately accessed by authorized healthcare providers around the globe. This helps in taking care of a patient’s overall health irrespective of the patient’s time and the location at a moment. Major advantages of EHR are:

    ● Real-time sharing of information and instant access by authorized personnel.
    ● Complete medical history of the patient from the beginning of the time.
    ● Improved healthcare decision-making.

    Electronic Health Record vs Electronic Medical Record
    To recall the introduction of the article, the difference between EHR and EMR could very well be understood from the two terms ‘Health’ and ‘Medical’. While both are electronic medical records, EMR is a narrower approach to a patient’s medical history that is exclusive to a single practitioner and isn’t as accessible to other practitioners related to the patient. At the same time, EHR is a more comprehensive in-depth report that can be accessed by different practitioners to take care of a patient’s holistic health at any time and location.

    Here are some summed-up Key Differences between EHR and EMR:
    ● An EMR is a diagnosis and treatment-oriented report of a patient in a single practice.
    ● EMR is not designed to be shared outside of a single practice but EHR is designed to be shared across practices and all information gathered in a comprehensive way.
    ● EHR can be shared with all authorized providers and more than one organization.
    ● EHR will carry the patient history from childhood allergies to old age MRI scans to be shared across different healthcare practitioners.

    The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics, an American non-profit organization stated in their report that, “The EHR represents the ability to easily share medical information among stakeholders and to have a patient’s information follow him or her through the various modalities of care engaged by that individual.”

    Both EMR and EHR are a historical development in the health industry. The shift from paper records has made it easier for different healthcare providers and institutions to interact with each other. This interaction helps in providing holistic, efficient, and accurate healthcare to the patients.

    Digitalization of medical records has eased the suffering and stress of patients that burden them other than their health. A patient has to carry the stress of carrying and managing their health history and transfer it to different providers but digitalization has eased that suffering and mental burden. These technological advancements in the health industry are a giant leap for improving the health and living conditions of human beings.

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