Having your practice up to date on the ever-evolving technological advancements in medicine, you’ve probably heard “EHR” (Electronic Health Record) and “EMR ” (Electronic Medical Record) about electronic charting options, sometimes interchangeably. These are two types of record-keeping systems with different benefits and uses as they relate to your practice. When it comes to things like data exchange, compatibility, and process interface, the two diverge in use and benefits depending on the size of the practice and its needs. Not sure if your practice needs an EMR or an EHR? Read along for more information!
EMR: Electronic Medical Records
An electronic medical record or “EMR” is the digital answer to the paper charts of yesteryear. They provide better security and ensure privacy in a more efficient and traceable manner than old-school paper charts. EMR contains individual patient’s medical histories including treatment plans, and pharmaceutical records, as well as copies of diagnostic imaging and lab reports to streamline care within one specific practice. EMRs are used for the diagnosis and treatment of an individual’s current complaint and don’t provide a holistic look at their medical care history if they’ve received noteworthy treatment at other unaffiliated facilities. This can be beneficial if the patient has ever received treatment from affiliated medical entities who all use the same EMR, or are only being treated on-site for a single complaint. This allows you to track patient progress as it pertains to your practice and treatment, without having to sort through unrelated treatments or histories and focus on one specific treatment goal.
An EMR is practice-centric, meaning it’s tailored to the needs of an individual medical entity such as a single clinic, provider’s office, or hospital. Electronic medical records are only accessible to providers and staff within that organization and data exchange outside of it would require the patient to fill out a medical records release form should they want Office A to share any pertinent treatment information with Office B. This kind of data sharing would require an employee to fax, mail, or electronically transfer and process the records request, which can take time and requires the patient to be an active participant in their treatment.
EMR is customizable to suit the schedule and workflow needs of a single healthcare entity which is valuable for medical personnel when it comes to real-time charting and fast-information access. Customization can occasionally be a hindrance as it can result in interoperability and compatibility challenges with interfacing technology. Patient engagement is limited with an EMR, as the primary users are the medical staff. EMRs allow for claim processing and billing, alleviating the necessity for additional bookkeeping and billing software. EMR is typically cloud-based to allow providers to access records on any compliant device to provide swift and expedient care.
EHR: Electronic Health Records
Electronic Health Records software or EHR is a broad-scope electronic chart that goes beyond individual practices or medical entities and provides medical staff with a comprehensive view of a patient’s treatment history across multiple healthcare providers. While EMR is specific to the treatment a patient has received at a single medical entity, EHR consolidates the patient’s visit data from multiple healthcare providers, hospitals, and clinics into a single record.
EHR can make it easier for a medical team to coordinate care as they have an overarching view of the patient’s medical and treatment history. This is beneficial as patients may not always think a piece of their medical history is relevant to their current diagnosis symptoms, allowing providers to get accurate and needed information without waiting.
Inoperability and delay of care aren’t an issue with EHR as EHR software is built to facilitate the exchange of protected medical data between multiple facilities and interface with many different technologies without causing a delay in care. This eliminates the patient’s need to request records.
EHR software is considered more patient-friendly and most come with built-in patient portals, which allow patients to communicate with their medical team and be a proactive part of their care by accessing their health records, communicating the need for refills to their provider or asking questions, pay copays, schedule appointments and more.
Should Your Office Use an EMR or an EHR?
The choice of whether you should use an EMR or EHR relies on the specific needs and goals of your practice. Private practices might find that EMR is a good fit for their operational needs as they tend to be smaller and may see less patient traffic in a day. When you’re ready to choose a digital charting type for your practice take into consideration:
- Does this particular software meet the needs of your office?
- What are your current needs?
- Will your clients benefit from a patient portal?
- Is the price comparable to what you need?
- Does your practice frequently have to request records from other entities?
- Does your practice hinge on having access to other treatment history or are you a dedicated provider?
Both EMR and EHR play a crucial role in healthcare today, each has different purposes and scopes. EMR is practice-centric and geared towards a single entity, provider-only use. EHRs allow for data sharing between providers and invite the patient to participate in their care.
Interested in HelloNote’s Comprehensive EMR Software?
With our comprehensive EMR software, we alleviate much of your documenting stress. We are the leading EMR provider for physical, occupational, and speech therapy practices. We lead the industry because we are therapists and we know how important it is to have the information you need at your fingertips. We understand your daily stressors and are dedicated to helping you decrease charting and administrative burdens, improving compliance, and increasing efficiency are the foundations of our success. Contact us to learn more about how HelloNote can help your therapy practice.