EHR or EMR? Know the difference.


Electronic Health Record (EHR). Electronic Medical Record (EMR). These are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably in the healthcare industry, but they are not the same. The difference is significant and can affect your practice and patients.

An EMR is a single practice’s digital version of the paper chart. (Emphasis on single practice). The goal of using an EMR is to monitor and improve the overall quality of care within the practice. This record contains a patient’s medical history, diagnoses, and treatment. It helps clinicians track data, identify which patients are due for preventive screenings, and monitor patient conditions, such as blood pressure readings, or vaccines. The problem with an EMR is that the information doesn’t easily leave the practice unless it is printed.

EHRs can do everything an EMR can do—and more. Its focus is on a patient’s total health. An EHR contains the patient’s complete medical history, including laboratory and radiology results. Designed to go broader, EHRs are more comprehensive in the information they collect, and can be shared with other providers across the healthcare ecosystem—which is why the information is able to move with the patient to the specialist, hospital, nursing home, pharmacy, or across state lines. Patients have the ability to log in to their records through a patient portal. While the information in an EHR is shareable, it’s also secure. The EHR also has advanced tools such as analytics, ePrescribing, and reporting.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information (ONC) prefer the term ‘EHR’. To receive financial incentives from CMS through the Quality Payment Program (QPP), otherwise known as MACRA, practices need to use certified EHR technology (CEHRT), which allows clinicians to communicate about patients electronically to insurance providers and public health researchers. And EHRs can better facilitate capturing population health data, which can provide insights that ultimately drive action.

We are all about the EHR. Quanum EHR from Quest Diagnostics offers a comprehensive, fully-mobile, and secure EHR that helps keep medical practices efficient and profitable.  Find out how our cloud-based EHR can offer access to key patient information anytime, anywhere, while providing the requirements you need to participate in the QPP. Call us at 1.888.491.7900, or read our white paper, “3 things to know about making the EHR switch: A practical guide to EHR replacement.”

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