EMR vs. EHR: Electronic Medical and Health Record Differences



CMS provides this tidbit of insight on the subject relative to the EHR Incentive Programs:

Sometimes people use the terms "Electronic Medical Record" or "EMR" when talking about Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology. Very often an Electronic Medical Record or EMR is just another way to describe an Electronic Health Record or EHR, and both providers and vendors sometimes use the terms interchangeably. For the purposes of the Medicare and Medicaid Incentive Programs, eligible professionals, eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must use certified EHR technology.

CEHRT implementation and adoption have been, are, and will be necessary for receiving incentive payments in federal quality reporting programs now that the Quality Payment Program has emerged to replace the EHR Incentive Programs, Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), and Value Modifier (ONC) for eligible clinicians (i.e., professionals under meaningful use).

But this explanation from CMS does not provide much in the way of a rationale other than the interchangeable use of the two terms.

However, the federal agency responsible for overseeing health IT certification -- ONC -- summed up the differences between the two as well as personal health records in response to a frequently asked question (emphasis theirs):

Electronic Medical Records

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are digital versions of the paper charts in clinician offices, clinics, and hospitals. EMRs contain notes and information collected by and for the clinicians in that office, clinic, or hospital and are mostly used by providers for diagnosis and treatment. EMRs are more valuable than paper records because they enable providers to track data over time, identify patients for preventive visits and screenings, monitor patients, and improve health care quality.

Electronic Health Records

Electronic health records (EHRs) are built to go beyond standard clinical data collected in a provider's office and are inclusive of a broader view of a patient's care. EHRs contain information from all the clinicians involved in a patient's care and all authorized clinicians involved in a patient's care can access the information to provide care to that patient. EHRs also share information with other health care providers, such as laboratories and specialists. EHRs follow patients - to the specialist, the hospital, the nursing home, or even across the country.

Personal Health Records

Personal health records (PHRs) contain the same types of information as EHRs--diagnoses, medications, immunizations, family medical histories, and provider contact information--but are designed to be set up, accessed, and managed by patients. Patients can use PHRs to maintain and manage their health information in a private, secure, and confidential environment. PHRs can include information from a variety of sources including clinicians, home monitoring devices, and patients themselves.


One size does not fit all?

Depending on the makeup of a healthcare organization, providers could be using a diversity of health IT systems to generate and manage patient data technology and coordinate care with providers in other departments using different systems. What's more, providers participating in population health management or value-based care could be partnering with members of the care team who are not clinicians.

In a patient-centered world, the term EHR appears most capable of grasping the comprehensive nature of the patient experience across the care continuum. All providers are liable for their contributions to the complete picture of a patient's health, indicating a need for EHR technology to properly track the provenance of medical data and decision-making.

"An EHR achieves a rare trifecta: It's a win for three parties. It's a win for the clinic because it saves time over the old method (attaining charts from other health care organizations, taking down verbal information from patients, and so on). Less time lost will translate into more time with patients," Dignity Health's Rami Hashish, PhD, DPT, wrote in 2015.

While the term EHR gets the nod from most of the healthcare industry, perhaps another phrase is more fitting. EHR adoption has risen significantly since the start of the EHR Incentive Programs only a handful of years ago. There are now patients whose entire medical history is digital and record will grow as they develop and mature.

Providers want a comprehensive view of a patient's health is a provider. And new sources of health data are emerging -- genomics, wearables, and patient-generated data. With healthcare moving into more settings beyond traditional brick-and-mortar settings, the industry is better suited to thinking in terms of a longitudinal health record combining the EHRs a patient is likely to contribute to the generation of over his lifetime.

For now, it appears EHR will have to suffice.

Source: EHR Intelligence (View full article)

Posted by Dan Corcoran on February 2, 2018 06:20 AM

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