As recently as ten years ago, people weren’t sure of what EMR or EHR was, or the differences between the two. Even today, some people still use these terms interchangeably, which can cause physicians to buy software that doesn’t give them the features they truly need.
These features are important. Since technology has progressed so much and medical professionals have embraced these advances, medical software has become capable of simplifying even the most complex processes and needs of the practitioners.
Because of the evolving technology requirements and regulations, knowing the difference between EMR and EHR has never been more important. We’ll be going over the key differences between EMR and EHR.
EMRs are virtual versions of paperwork in a clinician’s office. They hold the medical and treatment history of patients. They are used to help clinicians track historical data, identify patients who need checkups, monitor patients’ health levels, and monitor and improve the quality of care.
Transferring data out of practice from EMRs is tough since records have to be printed or mailed for consultation.
EHRs have more utility than EMRs because they focus on a patient’s entire health rather than only standard clinical data over a broader view of care. They share data outside the practice with different health care providers, meaning the record information comes from all clinicians involved with caring for the patient.
EHRs are like EMRs that integrate with the systems of other providers. Now, you might think that EHRs are always the better choice. But this might not be the case. Let’s look at the features offered in each system.
EMRs and EHRs both offer functionality that supports patient records, such as fields for practitioners to put in information including medical history, past diagnoses, allergies, and immunization dates. Depending on what practice management system you use, that could be enough to support your needs. For others, however, they may need additional features that only EHRs offer.
Practices that must qualify for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement will need an EHR. This is because there are new standards that were put in place by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.
If any practice wants to qualify for Medicare reimbursement, they have to use an interoperable EHR to make their health information instantly accessible to all other authorized providers.
Is EHR Or EMR Better For You?
The most important thing to consider when choosing between the two is understanding what needs need to be met, and if the system you get can meet those needs. Whether you choose EHR or EMR relies on how you map out your organization’s requirements and test existing systems in place. Selecting a medical records system should be considered based on the following:
Abiding by the most recent interoperability certification standards
Adopting a special workflow that complements your practice and specialty
Maximum usability during care
Most providers will make a choice based on their career stage, as well as what their IT budget is. Most young physicians will want to go with EHR since they’ll want to lay the IT foundation for participating in the advancement of healthcare interoperability.
Veteran physicians who may want to go paperless, are not so eager to adopt IT and don’t need to meet MACRA requirements, may be content with an EMR system so that they can forgo any costs and challenges that come with integration.
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