Are EHR and EMR the Same Thing?

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Are EHR and EMR the Same Thing?

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.

Blog | EHR Evaluation and Shopping

Employee Retention Strategies in Healthcare

Employee retention strategies in healthcare

Employee retention strategies in healthcare are critically important. Healthcare organizations across the nation have seen high employee turnover rates for years. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the exodus of healthcare workers from the field. Formalize and implement a plan with employee retention strategies in your healthcare agency. Below are some effective strategies that, when implemented organization-wide, can help you retain staff.

Determine Correct Fit in the Hiring Process

Make sure the fit is right for both you and potential employees to increase retention rates.

  • Make sure all new hires fully understand the position you are hiring for. Clarify expectations and potential duties.
  • Be transparent about the culture and work environment of your office.
  • Screen applications for a passion for Healthcare or service. Aligning with your purpose, sharing your values, and feeling like they make a difference helps employees last.

Onboard New Employees Appropriately

Employee retention starts on day one with successful onboarding.

  • Be prepared for a new employee’s first day on the job. Have your employee handbook, benefits package, and paperwork that needs to be completed ready.
  • Be proactive about introducing them to other staff members. Assign mentors or point persons they can ask for help.
  • Share the first lunch with new employees. Help them get to know coworkers and reduce feelings of awkwardness. Help them feel at home by showing them local eateries and your office break room.
  • Implement effective training strategies even when you are busy.

Foster Community with Employee Engagement and Recognition

Having a supportive work environment can increase employee retention.

  • Encourage employees to be social amongst one another. Friends, even if just “work friends” can make a difficult day a lot better.
  • Engage with your less outgoing staff members to help them feel they belong.
  • Set the tone of showing appreciation and offering praise to each other.
  • Celebrate successes together as a team.

Stay Competitive in your Hiring Market

Especially when it is an employee’s market, be as competitive as you can to retain staff.

  • Offer competitive rates of pay for healthcare workers in your area.
  • Consider increasing your benefits packages to keep competitive on healthcare benefits.
  • Offer a wellness program.

Grow Employees and Hold all to the Same Standards

Invest in your staff and protect them from resentments to retain your best employees longer.

  • Understand the goals of your employees in the next 1 year, 3 years and 5 years out. 
  • Provide growth and development opportunities to help your employees meet their goals.
  • Invest in staff growth – even if they one day advance out of your organization. It will encourage them to stay as long as possible. Growth can also encourage employees who have become stagnant to become more engaged.
  • Hold all employees accountable to the same standards and have direct conversations with poor performers. Enact disciplinary procedures or remove them from the organization to keep those who are working hard from becoming resentful and leaving.

Improve your Communication with Staff

To retain staff, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of how they feel.

  • Request honest employee feedback and allow respondents to respond anonymously.
  • Make employee concerns into action items.
  • Make it a point to reach out to your least vocal employees.
  • Conduct stay interviews to better understand why existing employees stay and how they feel about their workplace.
  • Use exit interviews to understand why employees leave and what you can improve.

Head-off Employee Burnout 

Combat staff burnout and compassion fatigue for employee retention of healthcare workers.

  • Provide outlets for stress such as renewal rooms that offer tranquil surroundings
  • Bring instructors in to teach staff meditation techniques or yoga.
  • Provide healthier snack and food options in your office to prevent junk food energy crashes and accompanying poor moods.
  • Make sure you are a trauma informed healthcare agency to protect your staff.
  • Help your team with work/ life balance. Offer coaching and consider ways your work environment can adapt. If possible, offer virtual or co-working opportunities.
  • Provide an EHR that combats digital burnout and alleviates staffing shortages.

Employee retention strategies in healthcare are effective. However, they do require buy-in from the top down. Formalize your strategies and share the plan with all senior leadership. Implement your plan organization-wide. Lowering your healthcare worker turnover rates is possible if you plan for and implement your employee retention strategies 

Behavioral Health Team Created at Patagonia Health

behavioral health team

Patagonia Health has developed a Behavioral Health team who will help the company better serve their customers with their EHR designed specifically to support Public Health and Behavioral Health agencies. This dedicated team will also help grow and expand the company’s reach further throughout the nation. This new team consists of three very knowledgeable and experienced professionals with over 40 years of combined experience in the Behavioral Health EHR space. 

Behavioral Health Team Members

Jonathan Strange is a proven enterprise healthcare leader with 20+ years working in Behavioral Health as a clinician and providing clinically driven content development to different electronic health record (EHR) platforms, with a dedicated commitment to consumer first methodology. As a clinician, he worked as both a Mental Health therapist in a forensic patient environment as well as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor at various agencies in New York State. Jonathan then went on to be part of a start up company geared specifically toward providing an EHR solution for Mental Health and Substance Abuse providers. He joins the Patagonia Health Behavioral Health team as Clinical Director.

Darryl Stanford a business executive with 15+ years of experience in Behavioral Healthcare companies that serve consumers with mental health and substance abuse diagnoses. He brings his leadership expertise to the Behavioral Health team in operations, billing, organizational sustainability and growth, and customer success from the National Counseling Group and other small to mid-level Behavioral Health agencies. He joins the Patagonia Health Behavioral team as Director of Development.

Roderic Peay is a billing analyst and former healthcare provider for children with Mental Health disabilities, in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. He brings 10+ years of experience navigating and mastering multiple electronic healthcare record (EHR) software systems. He has also overseen and implemented training programs for new hires on various EHRs. He joins the Patagonia Health Behavioral teams Customer Satisfaction Specialist. 

Patagonia Health is committed to customer satisfaction and patient care. They understand the day-to-day challenges Public Health and Behavioral Health practices face because the Patagonia Health EHR is designed by industry experts. They keep a great relationship with their clients and continue helping them as much as possible by supporting them with a team that’s knowledgeable about their specific work. Patagonia Health also stays committed to delivering quality care to the communities their clients in healthcare serve . Whether it’s Public Health needs or Behavioral Health needs, Patagonia Health offers its best-in-class Support Team. 

About Patagonia Health

Patagonia Health is a living Electronic Health Record (EHR) software designed to meet the complex needs and desired health outcomes of Public and Behavioral Health organizations. Their 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, Their mission is to support your business with software and service that allows you to provide your patients with the care they deserve.

Personalization, Configuration and Customization in EHR Design

Personalization, configuration and customization in your EHR

Personalization, configuration and customization in your EHR are sometimes confusing terms to differentiate. They involve different levels of making the EHR software unique to your users, groups of users, or organization. Some levels of these adjustments come as part of the base, out of box, EHR system. Others require source code changes by your vendor which changes the initial product. Understanding these differences can help you get the solution you need.


Personalization comes out of the box with a new EHR system. These are settings adjusted by yourself and the vendor during implementation. It is not necessary to change the software source code to set them up, though. Personalization is a feature of the software that allows it to target experiences to users in roles or as individuals. There are two types of personalization:

  • Role-based Personalization groups users together according to their user roles and the access they need. Staff would have specific tools or dashboards available based upon their duties. You outline what functions your staff needs (whether Clinician, scheduler, etc.).  Then your EHR vendor sets up the access and dashboards for them.
  • Individualized Personalization allows users to manipulate parts of their dashboard unique to themselves. With this, a staff member could manipulate the widgets they see or change calendar colors. A patient could prioritize the health information shown in their patient portal.


Configuration is also included out of box with a new EHR and does not require core code changes. The vendor configures fields and values as you prefer to help with your workflow. Configuration will happen whether you choose to customize your EHR software or not. These are set up during implementation and also come as part of your out of box EHR purchase. Examples of configurable items include:

  • Email templates
  • Portal forms
  • Reports
  • Security roles
  • Revenue recognition schedules
  • Page layouts
  • Custom fields & objects


Customization is not a part of the out of box EHR system. Sometimes clients need more changes than possible with personalization and configuration alone. Customization requires changing the source code of the EHR software your organization’s needs. That makes it become custom to you. 

Which Do You Need?

You may or may not need EHR customization. Personalization, configuration and customization in your EHR depends upon your particular needs. Any reputable EHR vendor would be able to do an informational interview and uncover this. Your workflow and process best practices are going to establish that. Personalization and configuration come along with the EHR you purchase. Only customization requires going beyond the out of box EHR to make the product specific to you. Not everyone needs more than the baseline solution.

About Patagonia Health

At Patagonia Health, we build customizations specific to you. However, if we decide to make a source code change and build in new features, we release it to all our subscribers. In this way, all our customers continue to enjoy system updates. Each client we take on in Public Health and Behavioral Health becomes our partner. We set up user groups and continue to evolve our products based upon our client’s needs. We are always focused on the pulse of industry needs in this way. If you would like to learn more about our specific product offerings, please contact us.

How to Migrate data to a new EHR Successfully

Migrate data to a new EHR

Knowing how to migrate data to a new EHR successfully can save you a lot of worry. Switching EHRs can often be a strenuous and sometimes troublesome process. What can sometimes be even more stressful is migrating all your clients’ important data to your new vendor. While migrating data to a new EHR can be a worrying process, especially if you do not know what to do or what to expect, it does not have to be. Here is what you need to know to be successful  as you migrate data to a new EHR.

Data Migration Strategy:

To migrate data to a new EHR successfully, having a well planned out strategy for the migration is key. Data migration is tough, so figuring out the best way to do it is crucial to cut errors. One part of a good strategy for migrating data could be to scan images first, because there is less room for error on those, and then move on to the actual records and whichever kind of data is left. Something that must be considered is how the information will be used in the new system. That plays a part in how to plan as well. You want the data to be arranged in such a manner that the more important data comes up in the system before the less important files. Something else to consider is that the more simple the strategy is, the better the migration will be.

Data Migration Considerations:

Data Sharing

One very important component to migrate data to a new EHR is managing the expectations of patients. Through your EHR system, patients must be given full access to their health records data due to the Cures Act. They also need to be able to understand their data (meaning they should understand what it consists of). Keep this in mind when choosing a vendor and getting your health records set up in your new EHR system.

Data Integrity

Another component to migrate data to a new EHR successfully is the integrity & quality of the data. Sometimes healthcare providers have poor standards when it comes to managing data, and that leads to duplication, fracturing, or deletion of data. 

Data Security

Something else that is important is ensuring that your data migrates somewhere that’s secure. Not having sharable health data, quality health data, or secure health data could all be detrimental to the health and care of your patients. 

Data Transfer

Another partial component to the quality of data transfer is the amount of data. There is a common misconception that if all the data is transferred at once, it’s better simply because it’s faster. That is not the case. With a large bulk of data moving at once, there is more room for error, whether it’s human error or automated. One small error in data migration can ruin the whole process, and damage a patient’s medical record. That is why moving the data slowly, but in an appropriate manner is quite important to migrate data to a new EHR successfully.

If you would like more information about data migration or the EHR available from Patagonia Health, contact us today.