Are you thinking of buying an EHR system? So are thousands of other physicians and practices. Is there a right place to start? You can find a thousand different consultants with just as many opinions, but it never hurts to start with some basics and branch out from there.
I don’t know why the industry still has the idea that an EMR and an EHR are the same thing? They are not. And now more than ever, with the necessity of “sharing” your practice’s patient medical records in that new big sea of medical records, the terms are clearly defined and different.
The acronyms EMR, EHR, and PHR were defined by the National Alliance for Health Information Technology (NAHIT) back in April of 2008. The then ONC drove the initiative and NAHIT issued its report, “Defining Key Health Information Technology Terms”. It is actually not a bad read, you can see the current Policy committee’s foundation here.
- An Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is 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 health care organization.
- An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is an electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conforms to nationally recognized interoperability standards and that can be created, managed, and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff across more than one health care organization.
- A Personal Health Record (PHR) is an electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conforms to nationally recognized interoperability standards and that can be drawn from multiple sources while being managed, shared, and controlled by the individual.
To qualify for the HITECH incentives a system will have to be interoperable, so by definition the EHR is where to begin. Identify the functions of the systems, challenge that the necessary functions can be accomplished with the software and determine if it is truly an EMR or EHR.
Learning from your peers and those who have already researched and implemented systems is a great tool. Visit our MD-to-MD page for physicians that are blogging about their experiences. Download our EHR checklist with six pages of software features you should be comparing when researching an EHR purchase. Talk to independent consultants to help you narrow your search.