EMR vs. EHR
WebPT is an electronic medical record or EMR software, and as such has different rules and regulations from EHRs.
So what's the difference between an EMR and an EHR (electronic health records)?
Historically speaking, the difference between an EMR and EHR has to do with the difference between the words “medical” and “health.” Electronic medical records were simply electronic versions of the medical charts that healthcare providers used to document on paper, whereas electronic health records purportedly took a broader lens to encompass not only the patient’s medical records but also information related to his or her health and wellbeing.
Today, though, the difference between EMRs and EHRs can be vast or non-existent—depending on the system and, sometimes, who you ask.
The Difference Between EMR and EHR
According to this U.S. News and World Report article, which makes no distinction between EMR and EHR, “At their best, EMRs (also abbreviated EHR, for electronic health records) pull together all of a patient’s information, from the results of the last routine checkup with her primary care doctor to CT scans from her emergency hospital admission because of a fall she took while vacationing 500 miles from home, in one place that is secure but remotely accessible not only to physicians but to the patient herself.” In other words, regardless of whether a particular system bears the moniker of EMR or EHR, the comprehensive information contained within it is meant to be accessible to all providers in a patient’s care team (à la interoperability) as well as to the patient.
One-Size-Fits-All Software Fits No One
In a recent webinar, WebPT CEO Nancy Ham said that EMRs and EHRs share many similarities, including the fact that they both house digital records of important patient information (among other things) and are capable of seamlessly exchanging relevant data with other systems. In fact, she said, a specialty EMR with interoperable functionality may actually be better than a large-scale, generalist EHR for many providers—especially those in niche fields. With these types of systems, providers are able to maximize their workflows and processes with solutions that are well-suited to their specific needs—and still thrive in this new era of connected, collaborative care. In this February’s Founder Letter—titled, “Too Big to Scale: The Fallacy of One-Size-Fits-All Software”—WebPT President Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, took the discussion one step further, reporting that some large-scale EHRs appear resistant to integrating with specialty EMRs—primarily because they’re so focused on “hospital-to-hospital integrations.” However, she believes that’s short-sighted for everyone involved and urges niche providers—such as PTs, OTs, and SLPs—to take a stand: “By raising our collective voices, we can demonstrate how EMR and data-tracking software built specifically for our clinical needs can help our partners in the hospital space save money and improve care quality,” she wrote. Ultimately, that’s what we all want, right?
Read the full article on the WebPT Blog.