Difference Between EMR and EHR

For those who do not know, EMR and EHR are software designed to aide medical fraternity in better diagnosis and therefore better and targeted treatment of patients across the country. It makes sense to keep medical records (read health related information and facts) of individuals in an electronic form in this age of computers and internet rather than persisting with papers and charts made by hand. This is what these software help in. But obviously there are differences between EMR and EHR despite common perceptions that they are same. Let us take a closer look.

EMR refers to Electronic Medical Record while HER stands for Electronic Health Record. When one hears the two terms, there seems to be no difference except the use of word health for medical and this is what confuses many. Then there is the use of medical terminology in the definitions given out by National Alliance for Health information Technology (NAHIT) that further confounds even medical fraternity. So instead of the exact definitions as proposed by NAHIT for EMR and EHR, it would suffice to know that whereas EMR is software that keeps electronic record of the health information about an individual that is collected and used by the staff of a single health care facility like a hospital. Thus EMR is used primarily by a single hospital or a nursing home.

On the other hand, EHR is the electronic record of the facts and figures about the health of a patient that is created by specialists from every health care facility that the person receives treatment from, and hence is much more comprehensive as it has inputs from specialists from many hospitals. As there are different kinds of doctors and specialists involved in the preparation of EHR, it is extremely useful for any doctor to whom a patient goes in future, as he can consult his EHR and get to see opinions and recommendations of many specialists and can better devise his treatment course.

However, there are issues of privacy and data theft in case of EHR that need to be addressed in a satisfactory manner before EHR can become more popular and eventually replace EMR.

In brief:


• EMR and EHR are software developed to create, gather, store and consult health information of an individual.

• EMR stands for Electronic Medical Record while EHR stands for Electronic Health Record

• While EMR contains data about the health of a patient gathered by specialists of a single health care unit such as a hospital, EHR contains more comprehensive information about the health of a patient as it is prepared by specialists from more than one hospital.

• Apart from privacy issues, there is no doubt that EHR is more useful for doctors to diagnose in a better and fast manner.