Most in the medial field know the acronym EHR (Electronic Health Record) and EMR (Electronic Medical Record) but many do not understand the difference between the two. The National Alliance for Health Information Technology defines these two as follows (2008):
Electronic Medical Record: 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 healthcare organization.
Electronic Health Record: an electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conforms to nationally recognized interoperability standards on an individual that can be created, gathered, managed, and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff across more than one healthcare organizations. The United States government via Health and Human Services/Office of the National Coordinator provides incentives via the HITECH Act to move the nation toward adoption of Electronic Health Records. On July 13, 2010, HHS provided a clarification of the benchmarks providers must demonstrate to receive the incentive payments for adopting a “certified EHR”. This document is over 850 pages in length that highlights some of the details of meaningful use. Many thought leaders, providers, and policy makers believe that Moving away from a primary “paper-based” system to an “Electronic Health Record” will improve quality and reduce costs of the health care system. Making the transition requires time, money