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Electronic Health Record (EHR / EMR)

What does EHR stand for in healthcare compliance?

In healthcare compliance, EHR is an acronym that stands for electronic health record. 


What is an Electronic Health Record (EHR / EMR)?

An electronic health record is an electronic version of a patient’s chart in addition to their medical history and clinical data. Electronic health records (EHR) are not to be confused with electronic medical records (EMR). There are some key differences between the two. 

Electronic health records (EHR) are an electronic version of a patient’s health information that grants access to tools used by providers to make certain decisions, allows patients to have their medical records travel with them, and permits physicians to share patient information with those allowed to view it. Electronic medical records (EMR) are just an electronic version of a patient’s chart that doesn’t move with the patient, cannot be shared outside the practice, and can only be used for diagnosis and treatment. Even though electronic health records and electronic medical records share one similarity, they are not the same. Electronic health records help to streamline the healthcare industry. 

Before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act were signed into law, electronic health records were not widely used by hospitals. But times have changed, and now they are used in nearly every hospital in the United States. 

Electronic health records aren’t just used in hospitals though. They are also used in labs, pharmacies, clinics, emergency facilities, imaging facilities, and more. Electronic health records are very useful for a number of different reasons. One reason why electronic health records are so handy is the fact that they contain so much information. In one patient’s electronic health record, you might find the patient’s chart, medical history, immunizations, medications, lab data, vital signs, problems, and more. 

Another reason why electronic health records are useful is the fact that they provide accurate and up-to-date information for each and every patient. Additionally, electronic health records are very portable. Health information can be shared electronically from one provider to the next, which helps to reduce the risk of medical errors. Electronic health records also promote efficiency within healthcare organizations by allowing physicians quick access to a patient’s chart, medical history, and clinical data. 

The use of electronic health records are also great for reducing costs to healthcare organizations. And finally, electronic health records improve patient care by ensuring that patient information is private and secure, facilitating communication, increasing safety, and focusing on the patient.  

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