EHR EMR Twins

Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Electronic Health Record (EHR) are not twins, but they are used interchangeably similar to the way parents confuse the names of their children. One letter can be a world of a difference. The difference between the terms can be the key to improving patient healthcare and safety.

Essentially, EMR provides health care providers with digital copies of paper charts. EMR is a vital back – up of the paper copies. Health IT summarized the benefits clinicians will have with EMR:

  • Track data over a period of time
  • Easily identify which patients are due for preventive screenings or check ups
  • Check how your patients are doing on certain parameters
  • Monitor and improve the quality of care within the practice

EMR is the source of data for the EHR, thus EHR includes many of the benefits (listed above) and more. EHR focuses on the total health of the patient by collaborating with clinics, medical facilities, and laboratories to provide comprehensive data of a patient. The benefits of EHR are provided as the user takes advantage of the program. Some of these benefits include providing complete, concise, and clear patient charts and reducing medical errors in order to improve the health care patients are receiving.

As children grow, so do their capabilities. EMR and EHR will grow as users explore their various benefits. For eligible professionals who wish to reap the benefits of Meaningful Use, a closer look at Stage 1 of Meaningful Use is important. MU 1 attempts to capture data and share it in order to improve the quality of health care. According to Health IT, meaningful use is defined as “using certified electronic health record (EHR) technology to:

Improve quality, safety, efficiency, and reduce health disparities

  • Engage patients and family
  • Improve care coordination, and population and public health
  • Maintain privacy and security of patient health information”

Dave Garets and Mike Davis of HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) Analytics wrote a white paper about the inherent differences between Electronic Medical Record and Electronic Health Records. Within their paper there was a clear and useful chart for the visual learners.


Electronic Medical Records Electronic Health Records
· The legal record of the CDO (Care Delivery Organization)
· A record of clinical services for patient encounters in a CDO
· Owned by the CDO
· These systems are being sold by enterprise vendors and installed by hospitals, health systems, clinics, etc.
· May have patient access to some results info through a portal – but is not interactive
· Does not contain other CDO encounter information
· Subset of information from various CDOs where patient has had encounters
· Owned by patient or stakeholder
· Community, state, or regional emergency today – or nationwide in the future
· Provides interactive patient access as well as the ability for the patient to append information
· Connected by NHIN

So, there seem to be a significant amount of differences between the two terms, but can a product be both EMR and EHR?

The answer is a resounding yes! According to Technology Advice, “There are several software systems that are classified by CMS as CEHRT [Certified EHR Technology], even though the vendors market their systems as an EMR.” PrognoCIS is one such system. Offering both EMR and EHR technology, PrognoCIS is capable of providing efficient data management for your medical practice.

Help spot the differences between EMR and EHR by sharing your thoughts and questions below.

Author: Sahana Bhargava

Image: Apoorva Anupindi