As medical records become increasingly digitized and or transmitted electronically instead of as a hard copy, patients are confused about the difference between their EMR (Electronic Medical Record) and their EHR (Electronic Health Record). There are some key differences even if the terms are erroneously used interchangeably.
1. The Electronic Medical Record is a narrow slice of information specifically about the medical history of a particular patient.
2. The Electronic Health Record is a more comprehensive report that covers the patient’s overall state of health.
What Do These Electronic Records Do?
The EMR contains the information of the patient as they are seen in a particular practice. The EMR is the modern version of the physician’s chart on a clipboard. The information is limited to the tests and procedures done in that office. As with paper charts, an EMR tracks the patient’s data such as weight, blood pressure, blood testing and helps to pinpoint when screenings and checkups are coming due. This information can be transmitted to other physicians and practice offices, but due to differences in EMR systems may need to be printed out and delivered by hand.
How 1998 is that?
The EHR, on the other hand, gives a broader view of the patient’s overall care across positions and practices. It can include, for instance, a behavioral health EHR, as well as for specialist practices such as the patient’s cardiologist, physical therapist, and primary care provider. This is a document that is better at making sure there is continuity of care. So while individual practices may keep their EMR, clinicians should undertake to help build a complete EHR for their patients so that continuity of care can be established in continued no matter who is treating the patient. This is especially important when it comes to the delivery and coordination of mental health care where there are physical and psychiatric comorbidities.