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MEDICAL and HEALTH may appear to be synonyms, but when sandwiched between Electronic and Record, they create terminologies that are significantly different from each other. Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Electronic Health Record (EHR) are not one and the same, and contrary to popular belief they should not be used interchangeably as well.

The National Alliance for Health Information Technology (NAHIT) has provided a clear distinction between the EMR and EHR.

EMR: The electronic record of health-related information on an individual that is created, gathered, managed, and consulted by licensed clinicians and staff from a single organization who are involved in the individual’s health and care.

EHR: The aggregate electronic record of health-related information on an individual that is created and gathered cumulatively across more than one health care organization and is managed and consulted by licensed clinicians and staff involved in the individual’s health and care…


Simply put, an EHR is a big collection of all the EMRs put together.

Electronic Medical Records have the following features:

–    Track data over time
–    Easily identify which patients are due for preventive screenings or checkups
–    Check how their patients are doing on certain parameters—such as blood pressure readings or vaccinations
–     Monitor and improve overall quality of care within the practice

Electronic Health Records on the other hand help in the following ways:

–    Prior information about allergies and other medical condition help in deciding the course of treatment in cases of emergency
–    A patient can check his health trends that will prove to be a major factor while choosing his lifestyle, food habits and health insurance
–    Patients do not have to undergo duplicate tests anymore
–    The clinician’s notes from the patient’s hospital stay can help with the discharge information and follow-up care and enable the patient to move from one care setting to another more smoothly

Health information exchanges will hopefully make EMR and EHR a reality. Electronic data of a patient’s medical history will prove to be useful in administering quick and immediate healthcare and will save the patients from undergoing repeated tests and having to store all their medical information carefully.

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