August 27, 2012
Many throughout the healthcare industry use the terms EMR and EHR interchangeably. Over the past few years, though, the government has made a point to use EHR, not EMR, even though most people think of them as one and the same.
This change in terminology is a mere trifle to most people, but Software Advice reports the shift from EMR to EHR represents more than a letter change; it represents the evolution digital office technology has experienced over the past three–four years.
Twenty years ago, most practices had practice management software, but few had software specifically designed for charting. That was when people started talking about EMRs, or electronic medical records. Today, most practices utilize both technologies, which integrate with each other.
Then, about four years ago, people started talking about electronic health records, which usually includes EMR and PM software but that adds one more crucial element: patient involvement. Patients have expressed interest in their electronic medical records before, but many of them are still unaware of the role they can play in their digital health management.
Today, EHRs covers a wide spectrum of technological tools for patient care: the EMR, which allows doctors to chart electronically and eliminates wasted time spent chasing paper charts; the PM software, which improves billing, scheduling, and overall practice management; and the patient portal, which allows patients to be more involved with their care. These three tools work together to meet the needs of three very different groups.
EHR software continues to evolve. An EHR isn’t meant to solve every problem a practice faces, but it does provide valuable tools to help doctors and administrators do their jobs better.