Learn the differences between EMR, EHR or PHR with explanation on PCR, CMR, EPR, DMR, PMRI, ICRS and other related terms used in Health IT.

Most of the people use the terms EHR, EMR and PHR interchangeably. However, when compared EMR vs EHR vs PHR, these three are arguably different from each other.

There Have been various other terms used to describe the electronic records like PCR, CMR, EPR, DMR, PMRI, ICRS but EMR and EHR and PHR are the established ones now.

Medical Health Records or Medical Charts is a system to medical documentation and health history. The purpose of recording medical or health history is to give information to health care providers such as Physicians, Nurses, Therapists, Medical Billers, Insurances and Government.

The basic concept of the electronic health record is to make medical records easier to share and integrate across multiple providers. It is not rare that a health care provider reads a patient's medical record carefully before choosing a treatment or prescribing medicines. Medical records may also help health care providers make a diagnosis as an illness might be related to the past condition or disease of the patient. Medical records can also be used for the purpose of insurance. Insurance companies may use medical records to check the billing data.

EMR vs EHR, PHR, CPR, EPR, PCR- Medical Records Differences

Medical records are very important for the communication about the medical information of a patient among the health care providers and also between the health care providers and the patients. The medical records may include health information such:
  1. Patient Demographics
  2. Progress Notes
  3. Diagnosis, Symptoms and Complaints
  4. Vital Signs
  5. Prescriptions, Medications and Immunizations
  6. Medical History
  7. Laboratory and Radiology reports
  8. Scheduling and Appointments
  9. Procedure and Office Visit Level Coding

EMR vs EHR vs PHR: What is the Difference?

Today, medical records are electronic and mostly accessible online. The Three most common types of digital medical records are defined by NAHIT as following:
  • Electronic Medical Record (EMR): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that can be created, gathered, managed, and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff within one health care organization.

  • Electronic Health Record (EHR): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conforms to nationally recognized interoperability standards and that can be created, managed, and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff across more than one health care organization.

  • Personal Health Record (PHR): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conforms to nationally recognized interoperability standards and that can be drawn from multiple sources while being managed, shared, and controlled by the individual.
Let's look into detail of what is the difference among the these:

Electronic Medical Records (EMR)

As the Health IT evolved, the EMR has became a second class version of the more advanced EHR. Electronic Medical Records do not offer the ability to share patient information among the providers. The record would have to be printed to paper in order to share information.

The Second difference is the EMR's lack of features related to personal health records, continuity of care, and disease management.

Electronic Medical Records (EMR) also called Digital Medical Records (DMR) contains only a part of the complete medical records. For example, it is more likely that a person goes to more than one doctors or hospitals or clinics in his/her lifetime. Each doctor or hospital or clinic he or she goes to will keep different EMR of him or her. Let’s say, the patient went to hospital A to mend a broken arm. So, the EMR of the patient in hospital A would contain the history, the x-ray, the treatment procedures and medications of the patient’s broken arm. Then, a few months later, the patient went to doctor B because the patient got a sore throat. Therefore, the EMR of the patient in doctor B would contain the history and treatment of the illness. The EMR of the patient kept by doctor B might not contain the history of the patient’s broken arm that was recorded in the EMR kept by hospital A, and of course, the EMR kept by hospital A might not necessarily contain the history of the patient’s sore throat that was recorded in the EMR kept by doctor B. In other words, EMR is health provider centric.

Electronic Health Records (EHR)

These EMRs of the same patient from different health care providers are then collected into one place: Regional Health Information Organization or RHIO. Those EMRs of the same patient from different health care providers would make up the patient's EHR (Electronic Health Record) and EHR is kept by RHIO.

Both EMR and EHR are the softwares, but EHRs used by diffent Physicians, can electronicallly exchange data with each other over the internet through HL7 (Health Level 7) protocol or some other format. Therefore, main feature of the EHR from EMR is it's ability to Share Patient Data electronically between providers.

Secondly, the Decision Support in EHR helps the doctor or other health care providers make a diagnosis, beware of drug interactions, etc. Patient support in EHR can give health education materials to the patient.

Electronic communications in EHR enable a doctor to talk with other doctors, health care providers, hospitals, insurance companies, and the patient via internet. Administrative processes in EHR enable the patient to make a doctor or clinic or hospital appointment by himself/herself and also enable the health providers to check the schedule of the appointment. Administrative processes are also helpful for insurance company people to check the data for insurance purposes.

All parties of approved health care providers can see, add, and manage the EHR of a patient. EHRs of patients may be used by RHIO to provide information about health in that particular region (since RHIOs are regional), and RHIO may use the information to improve the health care in that region.

CPR: Computerized Patient Records

The Computerized Patient Records (CPR) is the term coined for the early EHRs. The CPR was never fully implemented and remain mostly a concept. The idea of CPRs were lifetime patient records that includes all information from all specialties (even dentist, psychiatrist) and requires full international interoperability.

EPR: Electronic Patient Records

The Electronic Patient Record (EPR) was another early concept like CPR. The difference between the CPR and EPR was that the later concept was to only include the patient's relevant medical information which excludes lifetime records, dental records and behavioral care records.

CCR: Continuity of Care Record

The Continuity of Care Record (CCR) is a component of the Electronic Health Records (EHR). The CCR is the shared part of the patient record that improves continuity of patient care from one provider to another. This shared record includes the most relevant data regarding the patient's current condition and treatment plan.

Patient Health Records (PHR)

Lastly, let's look at what is PHR or Personal Health Record? Just like the name suggested, PHR is personal to patient. PHR is managed and controlled by the patient or their guardian, custodian or care givers. PHR are of two types:

Standalone PHR

Standalone PHR is managed and controlled solely by the patient. Standalone PHR can be offline or online. With Standalone PHR, The patient can choose whether he/she wants to share the PHR to other people or not. However, web-based Standalone PHR may not be as secured as Tethered PHR.

Tethered PHR

Tethered PHR means that the PHR is connected to the patient's EHR which is kept by RHIO. Tethered PHR is more private since it is protected by Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) Privacy Rule.

PCR: Patient Carried Record

Patient Carried Record (PCR) is a concept PHR where all the patient information contained on a machine eadable token or card can be carried with patient.

Whats is PMRI and ICRS

Patient Medical Record Information (PMRI) Used in Department of Health and Human Services/National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics in US. While Integrated Care Record Services (ICRS) is term used in UK, for same system like PMRI.

With all these explanations above, I am sure that you can now understand well that What is the difference between EMR, EHR or PHR.

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