EMR vs. EHR and What’s Better for Your Organization

By Trinity Cyrus | Jan 29, 2024

American hospitals continue to adopt electronic medical record (EMR) systems and electronic health record (EHR) systems. Legislation governing these digital systems keeps evolving, requiring organizations to meet regulatory requirements or face penalties. 

Integrating digital transformation, streamlining health care organizations’ operational processes and records, and enabling seamless patient transfer while complying with legislation requires expertise and strict adherence to EMR and EHR frameworks. Understanding the critical distinctions between EHR and EMR demonstrates the complexity and importance of digital systems. 

What Is the Difference Between EHRs, PHRs, and EMRs?

Electronic health records and electronic medical records are moving from paper-based charts to digitized systems. Each system is distinct, with crucial differences.

What Is an EHR?

An electronic health record is a digitized version of a patient’s chart. EHRs offer real-time, patient-centric records for authorized users to view anytime securely. EHRs are shared between organizations and built to surpass standard data collected by individual practices, offering a more comprehensive patient care overview.

The systems enable authorized health care organizations to:

  • Access expert tools: EHR systems provide evidence-based tools to help determine the best patient care. 
  • Automate workflow: Keep workflow streamlined and automated, creating a seamless experience for health care professionals and patients.
  • View vital patient details: Have a dedicated space to view the patient’s medical history, medications, treatment plans, diagnoses, allergies, vaccination dates, lab results and radiology imagery.

Electronic health records contain patient information throughout their treatment journeys and visits to various health care practices, resulting in efficient and smooth transitions and faster treatment response times.

What Are PHRs?

Personal health records (PHRs) include the same information as electronic health records, except that they are set up, accessed and monitored by patients. Patients use these records to manage their documents securely and privately. Information is available from various sources, including home monitoring devices, self-logs and clinician records. 

What Are EMRs?

Electronic medical records are digital patient records in practices, clinical offices and hospitals. EMRs are collected by a specific health care office or entity, used by that office and not shared across organizations or health care enterprises. 

EMRs contain notes and information used for diagnosis and treatment. Electronic medical records are more valuable than paper charts because individual providers can track data, refer to previous test results and monitor patients effectively. 

Critical Differences Between EHRs and EMRs 

The most significant difference is that electronic health records are shared among organizations, while a single provider maintains electronic medical records. 

Other distinctions between EHRs and EMRs include:

  • Accessibility: Electronic health records are accessible to patients, but electronic medical records are not. EHRs communicate across systems, enabling cross-organizational availability, and require record standardization and common formatting. 
  • Cybersecurity: EHRs contain the whole patient journey, which makes them more lucrative targets for cybercriminals. EHRs require higher security because various stakeholders are authorized to access the information. EMRs are not open to patients and only accessible by single providers, making the opportunity for data breaches more difficult. 
  • Interoperability: EHRs communicate with various systems or are interoperable. Interoperability enables multifunctionality, giving authorized individuals across health care organizations access to all patient documentation, records, diagnoses and results. EMRs do not integrate or function beyond a single entity.

What System Suits Your Health Care Organization Best?

EMRs and EHRs offer health care organizations great value and do not necessarily require an either-or approach. EHRs are typically adopted by larger enterprises and hospitals for a simple patient overview of treatment plans, allergies, diagnoses and history, making transferring patients seamless and creating a better patient experience. 

EMRs can be more appropriate for individual practices or providers. They digitize patient charts and enable data tracking without needing to fortify security or standardize formats to integrate with other systems.

Learn How Innovative Electronic Systems Benefit Your Health Care Organization

Simplify decision-making and implement the best system for your health care organization by partnering with experts. MicroHealth comprises former clinicians and health care experts, making us dual health care and technology specialists. We build systems and do integrations with your existing systems, making sharing information about patients between practices simple and secure.

We are an award-winning business-to-government (B2G) company with years of experience providing health-tech solutions to multiple branches of the U.S. government. 

Contact us to learn more about our innovative health care systems.


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