By generally accepted definition, an EMR is an electronic record of patients’ medical histories, created and stored at a single location. Meanwhile, an EHR is the comprehensive collection of patient medical records created and stored at multiple locations.
The problem with EMR is that it does not travel well outside during the sharing of health information among providers. The records often have to be printed in order to send to different physicians and specialists. Thus, in this regard, EMR can be treated much as paper records.
Electronic health records do all the same things and some more. The focus of an EHR is on the patient’s total health, reaching beyond collecting standard clinical data on the patients in the clinician’s office. It includes a broader perspective of patient care. EHR is built to share clinical data of patients across different health care providers, including various specialists and laboratories. Therefore, EHR contains information from all the physicians involved in the care of the patient. An EHR can be made, consulted, and managed by authorized physicians and health workers across different healthcare organizations.
The information usually travels to the physicians from the patients along with the healthcare organizations (hospitals, nursing homes) present, even across different countries. EHR makes the sharing of medical information across different stakeholders easy. It is designed to be viewed even by the patients themselves.
EHR makes a difference, as information becomes more powerful when shared securely. Healthcare does not depend only on individual efforts. Rather, it is a team endeavor that requires sharing of key patient information. Effective communication and sharing of patient information among different clinicians helps in achieving the desired result in health care. After all, the ability to engage the various parties in interactive communication with shared information is the key to success in healthcare.
Therefore, while “medical records” implies mainly clinical data derived from diagnosis and treatment of patients, “health records” can be regarded as a broader term that relates to the overall health condition of the patient.
EHR systems are the future of healthcare. The focus of EHR systems is on the overall patient’s health and it is designed to extend beyond the reach of healthcare organizations originally collecting and compiling patient health data. EHR is developed to share patient data with different health care providers, including specialists and clinical laboratories. The intent is to have all the patient information from different clinicians involved in the care of the patient. All the people involved in the patient care can access the EHR system, including the patients themselves for better care delivery to the patients.