[ Monday, August 20, 2012 ]


EMR vs EHR: Is it just phraseology, or do those acronyms mean different things?

Back in the early days of HIPAA, there was a stated push to move the healthcare industry out of the paper record universe into the electronic (easily transferrable, storable, and searchable) record universe. It seems that most folks "electronic medical record" to refer to the what the paper records were converted into. Perhaps that's because doctors talk about "the medical record" as a phrase with specific meaning and the end result of good medical documentation. If you call the total patient record "the medical record," then the electronic version would be an "electronic medical record" or EMR.

However, when the HITECH Act and the meaningful use regulations came around, suddenly we were dealing with electronic health records, or EHRs (which Microsoft Word unhelpfully keeps translating into "HER" or "HERS"). Is there a difference? If not, is there a preferred form?

Nate Bagley at Software Advice weighs in here. While there used to be some distinction among health IT folks some years ago, EMR and EHR have sort of merged into two words for the same thing. And, as you might expect, once the government starts calling something by a particular name in regulations, that name tends to stick. So, I guess we'll have to get used to EHRs.

Jeff [4:24 PM]

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