Posted By Amanda Girard On March 1, 2022

Are EHR and EMR the Same Thing?


Are EHR and EMR the same thing? Sometimes the terms Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Electronic Health Record (EHR) are used interchangeably. These are very different technologies. It’s important to know the difference. 

What is an EMR?

An Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is the digital version of a paper chart used in medical practices, unique to the individual provider or practice. These digital charts contain notes captured in the practice setting using the EMR. An EMR works well within that practice. The information does not travel outside the practice easily; however. It typically requires printing the record on paper to transfer it elsewhere.

Patient Information Accessible in an EMR:

  1. Medical history, medications, and visit summaries of a patient recorded by that practice
  2. Demographic and insurance information of the patient

What is an EHR?

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is also a digital version of a medical chart, independent of where the service is provided and by whom. An EHR is an all-inclusive, real-time record of a patient chart. They make patient information available instantly and securely to all authorized providers. These providers can connect from outside the clinic or organization. Patient information, including e-prescriptions, are exchanged digitally. No printing of paper documents is required. EHRs also allow digital sharing of health information to patients, themselves.

Are EHR and EMR the same thing? No. EHRs contain much more information about a patient. Interoperability with outside sources is what distinguishes an EHR from an EMR.

Patient Information Accessible in an EHR:

  1. Medical history, prescriptions, and visit summaries from many community providers
  2. Demographic and insurance information of the patient
  3. Information from laboratories
  4. Images from radiology
  5. Information from immunization registries, etc

Is an EHR or EMR best for You and Your Patients? 

EMRs were invented first and are an improvement from paper records. EHRs have continued to improve upon EMR technology. EHRs continue to connect with a more vast network of patient information. These include Health Information Exchanges (HIEs), interoperability networks, and other health information networks.

EHRs support whole-person care in many ways. They can support care coordination and partnerships between yourself and other care providers. They can support your patients in better managing their own care. EHRs provide your patients easy access to their medical information, health histories, and treatment instructions.

“Are EHR and EMR the same thing?” is a common question. They are different technologies with very different capabilities, however. An EMR is going to be more limiting. Connecting with other providers and your own patients through an EHR helps everyone.

About Patagonia Health, Inc.

Patagonia Health is a living Electronic Health Record (EHR) software designed to meet the complex needs and desired health outcomes of Public Health and Behavioral Health organizations. Our federally certified, easy-to-learn platform includes integrated practice management and billing software so you get one end-to-end solution. Employee-owned and organically grown, our mission is to support your business with software and service that allows you to provide your patients with the care they deserve. If you’d like more information about our solutions, contact us today.

About Amanda Girard

Amanda is the Marketing Manager at Patagonia Health, a cloud and apps-based Electronic Health Records (EHR) software company serving Public and Behavioral Health. Amanda has a passion for serving those who serve in others in healthcare. She oversees the production of informative content on industry topics and health IT solutions.