Electronic Medical Records vs. Electronic Health Records: What is the Difference?
post by Luke Stout, TriMed Technologies - December 02, 2021


In today's world, there is a lot of confusion surrounding the difference between an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and an Electronic Health Record (EHR). It is commonly assumed that they are one and the same, but they're not. In truth, they work together but are two separate concepts.

An EMR is a record of medical data created by healthcare providers during a patient's visit to their practice, clinic, or hospital. The EHR, on the other hand, is a document created by health care professionals as part of delivering care at any point in time. The easiest way to explain EMR is a digital patient chart and EHRs are a collection of EMR patient records collected by multiple practitioners.

Electronic Health Records (EHR) are important to patient care as they allow for the secure exchange of health information between different providers and organizations. Additionally, EHRs help to improve the quality and coordination of healthcare by providing a more complete view of each patient's health. It is a system for seamless communication among all health care providers involved in that patient's medical treatments.

While Electronic Medical Records (EMR) are important to patient care, they are often limited to one provider/practice if not input into an EHR system like TriMed EHR Complete. The use of electronic medical records within the EHR software allows for communication among various areas of medicine and different facilities. They allow healthcare providers to access a history of previous treatments and diagnoses for faster treatment options, more informed decision making, and improved quality. This creates a higher level of quality care for patients and a better patient treatment plan and experience.

EHR software has come a long way since the 1970s when the Department of Veteran Affairs started using EHR the Decentralized Hospital Computer Program (DHCP). If you were a resident physician and/or medical student in the United States, it's quite possible you have used the VA's Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) already too. Today, EHRs allow for more than just medical records and patient care charts to be stored and accessed by various providers. You can now schedule vaccines, pull industry data to help determine patient care, send notifications to other practitioners, provide referrals to other physicians, and even e-prescribe medications, including controlled substances.

It's not enough for the practitioners to know about the necessary care for the patients, it's vital that the patient understands their treatments as well. Making sure patients get the correct information about their medical needs is so important that our EHR software is also capable of distributing patient education resources directly to the patient's email inbox and/or mobile phone. This ensures they don't "go down a rabbit hole" or obtain inaccurate information when searching the internet for medical information.

At TriMed, we serve medical practices to ensure the highest level of care and service is provided to their patients...this starts with a well-organized EHR system. If you're interested in learning more about our EHR or not sure whether your practice needs an EMR or EHR system, contact us today!