Acronyms like EMR and EHR are already familiar to those in the medical field, but for those who aren’t, they stand for Electronic Medical Records and Electronic Health Records, respectively. They are both useful systems for tracking important patient information, but there are differences between the two that might affect the decision you make for your own medical practice.
EMRs contain all the information for a patient within a single practice (think of this as a single office or business), while EHRs consolidate information and records from every practice and specialist a patient visits. There are reasons for using each of these record systems, so read on to get a better idea of which one you would prefer.
One-Stop Shop: EMR Systems Keep Information Close
When it comes to ease of access and ease of use within a small scope, medical practitioners can’t beat a simple EMR system. Electronic medical records are something of a giant digital filing cabinet, keeping a practice’s files and records orderly so doctors and their assistants can find a patient’s information easily. They also keep track of past visits and help staff keep a close eye on when the next check-up should happen or when the next step of treatment should be taken.
These handy digital records are incredibly useful when it comes to working within a single office or practice, but sending information to other offices and doctors becomes a tricky business. EMR systems are not made to consolidate data among different practices, specialists, and offices, so records must be printed out and shared the old-fashioned way.
All the Data in One Place: EHR Systems Simplify Storage
While EMR systems are restricted to one practice, EHR systems can handle records and data from all the practices, offices, and specialists that are relevant to any given patient. This means accessing important information is a much simpler process, but there is one compelling reason a doctor may not use EHR: they must be integrated with all the other practices and offices involved in a patient’s total health.
This means, of course, that EHR systems are going to be more complex and difficult to set up. They ultimately make the process of checking a patient’s health data easier, but only after they have been set up properly. This involved setup process may be attractive to new doctors or thorough doctors who wish to build a foundation for total health care, but it may not fit every doctor’s time or budget.
The choice, in the end, is up to the doctors themselves. EHR medical billing systems can make life easier for many doctors, but they are more involved and more costly than EMR systems. No matter which system you choose, medical record-keeping is made easier by technology.