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What is the primary difference between electronic medical records and electronic health records in PBMs?

Some individuals use the terms “electronic health record” and “electronic medical record” interchangeably. At the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), however, you will see that we virtually exclusively employ electronic health records (EHR).

Although it may seem trivial at first, the distinction between the two phrases is rather substantial. The EMR term appeared first, and early EMRs were genuinely “medical.” They were primarily intended for diagnostic and therapeutic use by professionals.

In contrast, “health” refers to “the state of being sound in body, mind, and spirit; especially…the absence of physical disease or pain…the general condition of the body.” The term “health” encompasses far more ground than “medical.” And EHRs are far superior to EMRs.

How Do They Differ?

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are the digital equivalent of paper charts at a physician’s office. A practice’s patients’ medical and treatment histories are stored in an EMR. EMRs are superior to paper records. EMRs, for instance, enable clinicians to:

  • Track data across time
  • Identify patients who are due for preventive screenings or checks with ease.
  • Check their patients’ performance on specific factors, such as blood pressure measurements and vaccines.
  • Monitor and enhance the practice’s overall quality of care.

However, the information contained in EMRs does not readily leave the practice. It may be necessary to print and mail the patient’s record to specialists and other care team members. In this aspect, electronic medical records are inferior to paper records.

Electronic health records (EHRs) do all of the functions mentioned above and more. EHRs focus on the patient’s overall health. Going beyond the traditional clinical data collected in the provider’s office and providing a more comprehensive view of the patient’s care. EHRs are intended to extend beyond the initial health organization that collected and compiled the information.

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They are designed to exchange information with other health care providers, such as laboratories and specialists, and therefore contain information from all professionals involved in inpatient treatment. According to the National Alliance for Health Information Technology, “approved doctors and staff from several healthcare organizations can develop, maintain, and consult EHR data.”

The patient’s information is transferred to the specialist, hospital, nursing home, the next state, or even across the country. 

Analytics stated, in analyzing the differences between record formats. That “The EHR represents the ability to transmit medical information among stakeholders readily and to have a patient’s information follow him or her through the numerous modalities of treatment received by that individual.”

EHRs are intended to be available by all parties engaged in a patient’s treatment, including the patient. In fact, this is a requirement explicitly stated in the Stage 1 definition of “meaningful use” of EHRs.

And that is the deciding factor. Because information becomes more potent when it is securely shared. Health care is a team effort supported by the sharing of information.

After all, a significant portion of the health care delivery system’s value is generated from the effective exchange of information from one party to another and, ultimately, from the ability of many parties to engage in interactive information communication.

Advantages of EHRs

With fully functional EHRs, all team members have immediate access to the most recent information, enabling more coordinated, patient-centered treatment. Using electronic health records,

Even if the patient is unconscious, care can be altered accordingly based on the patient’s life-threatening allergy, communicated by the primary care practitioner to the emergency department doctor.

A patient’s ability to log in to his record and view the trend of his lab results over the past year can drive him to continue taking his meds and maintaining the lifestyle adjustments that have led to improved numbers.

The lab results from last week are already in the file. So no additional tests are necessary to provide the specialist with the information she requires.

The clinician’s notes from the patient’s hospitalization can help inform discharge instructions and follow-up care. Facilitating the patient’s transition between care settings.

Yes, there is a single-word distinction between “electronic medical records” and “electronic health records.” But this term contains a universe of distinction.

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EMR provides digital patient charts for a single practice. But EHR enables physicians to quickly share records with other healthcare professionals regardless of their geographic location. Keeping in mind the terms “medical” and “health” will help you recall which.

In other words, EMR provides a more limited perspective of a patient’s medical history. Whereas EHR provides a more comprehensive report on a patient’s health.

Consider an EHR similar to an EMR, but with additional tools and capabilities to provide a more comprehensive view of a patient’s medical history than EMR, which are often more limited. EHR typically offers a more comprehensive view of a patient’s medical history than an EMR.

EMR permits the entry of patient care information, including test results and prescription drugs. This type of software can issue repeat prescriptions, organize patient appointments, and bill patients.

In addition to facilitating e-prescribing, EHR software provides communication tools that enable healthcare providers from different organizations to collaborate on patient care. For more information visit

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