EMR or EHR, what’s the difference

I hear the terms EMR (Electronic Medical Record) and EHR (Electronic Health Record) bandied about interchangeably.
So what is the difference.
Based on some reading I offer the following:

EMR – An electronic record of a person’s health related information that is gathered and managed from a single organization
EHR- An electronic record of a person’s health related information that is gathered and managed from a many organizations.

So my EMR is generated by my family physician and his/her nurse, but my EHR includes medical information from visits to specialists as well, perhaps even dentists and podiatrists. An EHR vendor thus needs to provide interfaces that allow data to be easily interchanged. In this regard I am starting to read about LOINC and HL7, though I understand the latter to be somewhat outdated.


11 thoughts on “EMR or EHR, what’s the difference

  1. I started studying how the government is structuring health it, and I found much redundancy. I wonder if this is a way to make it too complicated, and not complex to simplify.
    I am computer scientist and have implemented tools to locate better places to drop medication, as well as pharmacy locators. I think the internet is the universe to take healthcare to the next level.

  2. The distinction between EMR and EHR is an important one as relates to use of information. For health record information to be helpful it must be credible, i.e. have an owner who stands behind the veracity of the data. An EMR from one instituation such as my Kaiser record has validity in that any physician with access to the record will rely on the accuracy of the date present (only Kaiser physicians today) while an EHR may be seen as less relevant due to trust issues with accuracy of data. As the industry moves towards a true EHR (delivered through a RHIO, HEI etc.) the industry needs to think about how to know the provenance of data to create credibility with it (did this data come from a physician, or a lab and is that lab certified and credible?).

  3. Pingback: ‘Meaningful use’ toward HIEs – questions for Dr David Blumenthal « Jonathan Gershater's Blog

  4. Moses
    Yes an interesting perspective on trust and security of data and the provider thereof.
    Technologies exist to provide some level of trust on the Internet.
    Web single-sign-on products establish trust between websites so that users can login (authenticate) to one website and thereafter automatically login to another. Example, I login to my airline website, reserve a flight and then when I login to my rental car agency, I am automatically authenticated. Some information, (my name, even credit card) can be transferred from the airline to the rental agency. (read here on SAML: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_Assertion_Markup_Language )

    The key to the airline/rental car agency example is a central identity provider is trusted and a technology (SAML) exists to establish that trust.

    Will health-care technology evolve to create centralized medical terminology and technologies that EMRs and EHRs will adhere to. I just blogged this question here:

  5. The meaning and difference between EHR and EMR is still not understood by many people related to relevant industry also. Govt and concerned authorities has started some innovation incentive plan for successful and effective use of EHR/EMR.

  6. Hi

    Just would like to know the following:

    1. What is the difference between EMR/EHR/ and order set.
    2. How order set process fit into the clinical workflow
    3. Who are all the major players in providing order set
    4. The stake holders of order sets – whether vendors of health system providers or healthcare providers

    Thank you

    • (courtesy of my EMR class:)
      Order sets are checklists of orders presented to the physician, who can order them by simply clicking one or two buttons.

      For example, admitting a patient with lower extremity deep vein thrombosis (DVT), an order set would include:
      1. keep leg elevated
      2. heparin bolus at 80U/kg, followed by heparin drip at 18U/kg/hour
      3. INR, PTT now, PTT every 6 hrs

      Rather than have the physician enter these one by one, they are provided as a set. The physician can make some adjustments, then click one button and this invokes all the orders. This is provided in an EMR.

  7. Pingback: EMR vs EHR redux « The HealthITBlog

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