The Difference between EHR and EMR: Which is Better?

Daniel Pluard

January 18, 2022
intely The Difference between EHR and EMR Which is Better

Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) are two common medical terminologies these days. However, there is confusion around their definitions and difference. 

Electronic medical records are electronic versions of the paper patient charts that have long been vital to medical practices. Electronic health records are more comprehensive. 

We often use EMRs and EHRs interchangeably, but they are technically different. EHR is a more advanced form of an EMR. It is a vital part of healthcare. 

So, which is better? EMR or EHR? Continue reading to find out. 

What is an EMR (Electronic Medical Record)? 

An EMR is a database that holds information about an individual or group of patients within a single healthcare provider. In simple terms, EMRs are digital versions of a patient’s chart.  

EMRs include demographic, clinical, and financial data that can be entered and updated by clinical and non-clinical staff. 

A record can be sent via paper or electronically and contain more than just clinician notes or diagnostic information. However, due to HIPAA regulations in the United States, one practice can’t simply send an EMR to another practice. Sending a patient record to another practice requires consent and generally manual intervention, making it inefficient. 

What is an EHR (Electronic Health Record)? 

An electronic health record (EHR) is a systematic collection of electronic data about patient health information. EHRs can be shared across different healthcare settings, networks, and enterprise-wide information systems. Data in the record include progress notes, problems, medications, vital signs, past medical history, immunizations, and lab reports. 

EHRs are like roadmaps for a particular patient’s care journey when visiting different healthcare practices. For example, suppose a patient has a positive or negative reaction to some drugs. In that case, an EHR can record what happened and make a note of the following steps to take as well as alert other medical professionals.  

Research has proven that patients also benefit from receiving health records more promptly through advanced technology than in its previous format. Improved communication is equal to faster and more accurate results! 

EHRs vs. EMRs 

The most significant difference between EMR and EHR is that the latter can communicate with other systems. EHRs are better suited for interoperability than EMRs. 

Electronic medical records may be the best option for some health systems, but electronic health records are preferable if you’re looking to monitor patients’ progress across different care settings. 

Which is better, EMR or EHR? 

Both EMRs and EHRs offer value for healthcare organizations. In many cases, both types are used within a single medical practice depending on the nature and purpose of the patient data recorded. 

  • Interoperability 

When it comes to interoperability, EHRs are the better choice. They can be integrated with other systems that can directly exchange health records.  

EHRs also offer value for smaller practices that regularly refer patients to specialists or other clinics. The interoperable nature of EHRs can significantly reduce the amount of time and effort required by administrative staff to ensure transferred records are easily accessible. 

  • Patient Access to Records 

Electronic health records are designed to allow patients to access their records anytime, anywhere. All the information – from test results to diagnoses to prescriptions – is readily available and up-to-date. 

With EHRs, patient data is accessible and updatable. Medical professionals can thus reliably diagnose and administer treatment plans for greater accuracy in patient care. 

Top EMR/EHR Systems 

  • athenaOne 

athenaOne, offered by athenahealth, is software for modern health care providers. It is available on Android and iOS devices. It’s suitable for small to large organizations. You can manage appointments, organize patient care, document everything, and bill efficiently with its help. 

  • Epic Care 

Epic EHR – lets doctors maintain historical records of their patients. It manages daily operations like billing, appointment scheduling, and payments. It offers capabilities that handle clinical trials, revenue cycles, care management, analytics, and artificial intelligence.  

  • AdvancedMD 

AdvancedMD is a comprehensive solution that ties billing, coding, and patient messaging into one easy-to-use web-based platform that doctors will find incredibly useful. 

  •  CureMD 

CureMD fits all sized practices, no matter how big or small, as it can be fully customized to each user’s needs. With an easy-to-use interface for patients with valuable features such as medication reviews, diagnoses, lab results, and more. 

  • Cerner Power Chart 

Cerner Power Chart integrates seamlessly with popular health care systems while following communication protocols prescribed by regional, local, national healthcare information exchanges (HIE). One of its other important features is the patient portal, where you can manage appointments from your computer. 

In a nutshell 

Bottom line? EHRs and EMRs both offer significant value for healthcare practices.  

While EMRs focus on single-patient, single-practice data, EHRs are built for interoperability. As a result, finding the right fit is about function rather than form. Both individual practices and multinational health enterprises can benefit from both types under the right circumstances. 

Because healthcare is a team effort that can’t be delivered by a single healthcare professional or practice, sharing patient information between practices will ultimately lead to improved care and outcomes. 

Whichever system of record you choose to use, intely is here to help you securely integrate your other software to any system of record. Visit to learn more.  



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