The terms Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Electronic Health Record (EHR) are used interchangeably, but there are significant differences between them. Understanding these differences is critical when selecting a computer system for your hospital or clinic.
|.||Electronic Medical Record (EMR)||Electronic Health Record (EHR)|
|Ownership & Control||Organisation. The EMR is the system of record for clinical information within the organisation that procured and deployed the EMR system.||Patient. The EHR ‘moves with the patient’. The patient could (in theory) move their data between different EHR systems.|
|Focus||Episodic care. EMRs contain past episodes and some non-episodic information (e.g., allergies and family history), but the focus is on the current episode (i.e. the focus is on ‘treating the disease’).||Longitudinal care. The focus is on longer-term health outcomes and coordinated, patient-centred care (i.e., the focus is on ‘treating the patient’).|
|Data Granularity||Very detailed. The EMR replaces paper notes and is used to record very detailed information for each episode of care.||Curated and summarised. Contains a curated summary of each episode of care, limited to what is relevant to the patient’s ongoing care or long-term health.|
|Data Type||Medical. Information is limited to that collected and required by doctors, nurses and allied health personnel.||Health. In addition to medical data, EHRs also contain information from community care, nursing homes, pharmacies, complementary and alternative care providers, and the patient.|
|Data Source||One Organisation. Only staff working within the organisation can add information to the EMR.||All Organisations. Anyone involved in a patient’s care can enter information into the EHR.|
|Provider Access||Only providers within the organisation. EMRs are only accessed by clinicians credentialed to work within and organisation and data is usually not exposed to the Internet beyond basic ‘portals.||All providers. Subject to appropriate privacy and security safeguards, all healthcare providers can access the EHR, which are designed to work over the Internet.|
|Patient Access||Read-Only. Organisations may give patients limited access to their EMR record through a ‘patient portal’.||Full Control. Patients typically have full access to their EHR, including the ability to add and update information.|
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