Photo: Stethoscope and computer - Medical SystemsAs a member of the medical community, you have undoubtedly noticed that many of your office practices that once involved paper trails and record keeping have become digitized. The switch to maintaining electronic patient records has been an important one for the industry and for the most part it has come with plenty of benefits.

However, there’s still some confusion surrounding the jargon of electronic records, mainly the difference between EHR and EMR. Often times, these two terms are used interchangeably which adds an unnecessary element of confusion. While the two might be similar, they also have distinct differences. Let’s take a minute and discuss how these two critical components of patient care are different from one another.

What Are Electronic Medical Records (EMR)?

Electronic medical records are essentially digital versions of the old paper charts that were maintained in physician offices. EMR are the records of care provided by a single practice and usually include medical basics like the patient’s medical history, history of visits, diagnoses and prescribed treatments.

One simple way to remember the distinction between EMR and EHR is that EMRs are primarily concerned with the medical treatment provided by one practice. Electronic medical records are important because they help practitioners and office staff record and keep track of a patient’s progress or changes over time.

A major benefit of medical records becoming electronic is that it makes it easier to identify which patients are due for screening and preventative check ups based on a combination of factors including their current health status and the amount of time that has passed since their last visit.

EMRs also streamline patient care by allowing physicians the ability to quickly glance at a patient’s vitals and assess any changes that might be important or influence the outcome of the patient’s visit without digging through pages of records.

What Are Electronic Health Records (EHR)?

Like EMRs, an electronic health record is the digitized version of a patient’s chart. The primary difference is that EHRs collect medical information from a variety of sources, including multiple physicians, hospitals, medical care facilities and sometimes from the patient themselves. Rather than being a comprehensive overview of the patient’s state of health, an EHR is more of a snapshot that enables multiple providers to quickly assess the patient’s overall health.

Another primary difference is that while EMRs remain in-office, EHRs can be shared electronically to different healthcare providers in an effort to provide the best in terms of patient care. EHRs make it easy to keep a patient’s record updated with information when they’re working with several health care providers and helps physicians make more informed decisions based on other factors impacting the patient’s health – including details from the past that a patient may fail to communicate during treatment.

Choose a Tech Solution for Your Practice (EMR vs EHR)

If you have more questions about the differences between EHR and EMR technologies, we’d be happy to speak with you. We offer specialized EMR solutions that will help streamline your practice operations and provide the ultimate in patient care. Contact Raintree Systems today to learn more.