Several decades ago, people were not aware of the Electronic Health Reporter or in short, what is referred to as the EHR.  They didn’t know whether to switch to an EHR or an EMR and the difference between the two. Even in today’s world, there are several people who still use the acronyms interchangeably which in the process can lead to physicians purchasing software that doesn’t give them the features that they are looking out for.

EHR - Electronic Health Record Reporter

Technology has greatly progressed and at the moment, medical practitioners are embracing technology as a health care essential with medical software simplifying most processes that used to be complex. With evolving technology requirements and the regulation of the federal, it has become necessary for the providers of medical services to understand both, at the same time know the difference between these two types of systems for medical keeping.

In simpler terms, electronic medical records acronym as EMRs are systems that are basic which in most instances, will not meet the regulations of the federal mandate. With the electronic health records acronym as EHRs, they tend to be more feature-oriented and will ensure that you achieve medical reimbursement standards.

EMR vs EHR: The difference in terms of definition

The basic use of both electronic health records and electronic medical records are the same; for documentation. But when it comes to definition, they are defined differently.

What are electronic medical records (EMR)?

These are digitized versions of a clinician office paperwork. They normally contain treatment and medical history of patients. The EMR is able to help the clinician to track a patient’s historical data, identification of patients who are supposed to come for checkups, keep a tab on patients level of health such as vaccinations and blood pressure, and to improve and monitor the quality of care that the patient is getting.  However, transferring data from the EMR is very easy. The records will need to be mailed or printed for consultation purposes.

What are electronic health records (EHR)

They tend to offer more functions as compared to EMR due to the fact that, they focus on the total health of the patient and not just the clinical data but a wider view of the care which is being provided to the patient.

They allow sharing of data outside the practice with other providers of health such as specialists and laboratories. This means that EHRs record information from all the clinics that take care of the patient.

The EHRs are an advanced EMRs that have interoperability, integrating to other systems of providers.  From the above description, you might be thinking that the EHRs are the better option. It might be the case but you should not have to do a more in-depth comparison of the features that each system has to offer.

Comparing the features being offered by EHRs and EMRs

Both of them include functions that support the keeping of a patient’s health records including the field practitioner being able to input in things like diagnoses, medical histories, immunizations, medications, and allergies.

If your practice requires to qualify Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement, then you will need to go for an EHR. This is due to the fact that, that is the acceptable requirement. In order for a practice to qualify for reimbursement of Medicare, they must be using EHRs that are interoperationable so that the health information can be accessed immediately to other providers who are authorized even those in other practices or health organizations.

Which one will work for you? The EMRs vs EHRs?

Despite both of them having clear features, the terminology which is used to describe them is muddied still. When you are considering which software to go for, the most important thing is to do diligence and be sure that you are buying the right system which will meet your needs.

At the end of the day, whether you have gone for an EHRs or an EMRs, it should entirely depend on how you are able to map the requirements of your organization and assess the system which you currently have. The medical record selection can be based on:

  • Adherence to the modern interoperationality standards of certification.
  • Adoption of a workflow which is unique that matches your specialty and practice.
  • Usability that is maximum at the point of care

When you fulfill the above requirements, then you will be able to help during your practice to increase the ROI, improving the incentives which are received from the payers.  Most of the service providers tend to make their decisions basing on the IT budget and the stage of career they are at.

If the physician is young, they will mostly want to get an IT foundation that will enable them to participate in future visions that involve healthcare interoperability, meaning, they will go for an EHRs.  Their effort will be supported by this particular system especially if they are going for Medicare