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EMR Vs EHR – What Are the Essential Differences between EMR and EHR

EMR Vs EHR – What Are the Essential Differences between EMR and EHR


Differences between EMR vs EHR 

EMR Vs EHR – What Are the Essential Differences between EMR and EHR

To the layman there is a certain amount of equivalence when one talks about medicine and health. Apparently the two go together and are interconnected which is true to a certain degree but there is a fine distinction when it comes to records, especially those maintained in electronic form, usually in the form of software based EHR systems. This is the current trend and data is stored as Electronic Medical Record (EMR) or Electronic Health Record (EHR), the terms sometimes overlapping and used interchangeably. It must be noted that over 93% of hospitals in the USA use EHRs. A closer look shows that these two are disparate as we will differentiate in the ensuing paragraphs. People do tend to conflate EHR and EMR.

Some common functions of EMR:

  • Keep individual track of patients
  • Identify which patients are due for a consultation/checkup/screening and send out notifications
  • Keep track of patient’s specific health condition and progress as well as response to treatment
  • Diagnostic record
  • Financial aspects

What is an Electronic Medical Record (EMR)?

One way to look at an electronic medical record is to consider it as a subset of the electronic health record. The EMR is usually maintained in electronic medical record systems software supplied by a known vendor. The EMR contains data about a specific patient as regards health, demographics, diagnostics, treatments and finance, sometimes in relation to a particular health condition or illness. It is almost always created by clinical or non-clinical staff within a medical practice and it is not transferable electronically due to legal constraints. If at all a patent switches to another medical practitioner who requires access to the electronic medical records then the previous clinician would probably print and send a paper record.

What is an Electronic Health Record (EHR)?

The chief and identifying characteristic of the electronic health record is that it is created by an enterprise health system and it is shared between healthcare organizations. It is also more wide-ranging in scope, covering not just specific ailment, diagnostics and treatment but also including an overall picture of the person’s general health conditions and physical characteristics. It also includes data about the patients’ treatments at various other healthcare facilities and clinics, covering their history. It paints a larger picture of the patients’ medical journey. Larger healthcare services providers make use of more sophisticated and secure EHR system to manage patients’ electronic health records. Access to the EHR of patients help larger healthcare services to know about their past and arrive at a faster treatment solution instead of having to start diagnostics from scratch. It also saves money and time for both patients and services.

Provided large healthcare services provider obtain their electronic health record system set up by specialist IT vendors there are quite a few benefits:

  • Ability to deliver specialized, higher level specialized care to referred patients
  • Save lives by acting fast based on availability of complete medical records
  • Let patients view their own records and thus encourage and motivate them to take better care
  • Avoid duplication and redundancy by way of lab tests and diagnostics and save time, effort and money
  • Provide better follow up care and holistic improvements to patients


Key differences between EMR and EHR:

The above explanations of EMR and EHR show why it is easy to conflate the two together. However, the following fine distinctions should make the differences pointedly clear.


As stated above the EMR is created by a particular doctor or medical facility and such records are treated as confidential. The patient or another healthcare service provider does not have direct access to the EMR.

Electronic health records, maintained in electronic health records software by larger institutions are accessible to patients who can download softcopies. EHR systems are designed to be interoperable between institutions and data is standardized using standards such as Health Level 7 (HL7) that creates standardized formats.


EMR systems used by small medical practitioners may be custom built by vendors and store data in their specifically created formats that may not be directly accessible by EHRs. It is a closed system. Electronic Health Records software is designed to be interoperable between different institutions across the country or the world with standardized formats and data systems as regards documentation, medicine management, diagnostics, clinical decisions, reporting, financials and analytics.

It must also be kept in mind that insurance also comes into play and interoperability provides convenience in this regard.

Higher security in EHRs

EHRs by their very nature are used in large public health services and the fact that data is shareable and systems are interoperable imposes a higher level of security and safety standards to prevent such data falling into the wrong hands or being hacked. As such, larger healthcare services must pay special attention and care to choosing electronic health records software and also on the vendor’s capability to provide ironclad security for storage and also for transmission across the internet.

Which one to opt for? EHR or EMR?

The foregoing paragraphs clearly delineate the vital distinctions between EHR and EMR. The question is which one should you choose as a medical service provider?

Individual practitioners and small clinics will find it easier, convenient and affordable to go in for compact and easy to use electronic medical records software that can be installed and managed in-house. Such practitioners can access patient’s EMR on their office systems as well as through their mobiles. However, it must be kept in mind that there will be quite a few patients whose condition, treatment required and the lack of facilities in the individual doctor’s clinic will make it necessary for such patients to be referred to larger hospitals with better facilities. As such, the right recommendation is that individual practitioners will find it a wise choice to go with electronic health record software right from the start due to interoperability, higher security and access.  If this is the choice, and it is the right one at that, what remains to be done is to choose the right vendor and get a cloud based EHR software solution that includes messaging, financials and billing in one package.



Benefits of Medical Billing Services for Small Businesses

Benefits of Medical Billing Services for Small Businesses

Benefits of Medical Billing Services for Small Businesses

Benefits of Medical Billing Services for Small Businesses

Health care providers today often struggle with the administrative side of things. After all, health care providers are trained to help people overcome illness and get back to being healthy — not for dealing with accountancy issues and chasing money. 

Whether you’re running a small practice between 1-5 physicians or are a bigger practice capable of treating a large number of patients, medical billing outsourcing services are probably of interest for your practice. 

Patients don’t always have the resources to pay for their consultations and treatments upfront and often require billing at a later stage. 73% of health care providers report that it takes longer than one month to collect payment from their insurance and even more from the patients. 

The growing need for external medical billing services is reflected by the pace at which the market has grown over the last several years. Statistics show that the worldwide medical billing outsourcing market was worth USD 10.2 billion in 2020. The market is predicted to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.66% between 2021 and 2028. 

What are Medical Billing Services? 

Medical billing services are outsourced third party companies that take care of accountancy and debt collection requirements for health care providers. Typically, they work alongside practices to implement a system to track and chase payments from insurance and patients. The process often involves the use of medical billing software which streamlines the operation. 

How Does it Work? 

Most medical billing services these days operate on cloud-based platforms or medical billing software. This digital advancement diminishes the need to install or set up any complicated system. It’s designed to streamline your working process and to help your practice save the time and energy spent on chasing up bills. 

Benefits of Outsourced Medical Billing Services for Small Practices 

Outsourcing medical billing services for small practices are less of a “good idea” and more of an immediate necessity. Without them, your practice’s working process can experience heavy disruptions. 

Not having a medical billing service set up can also lead to significant cash flow problems which threaten the good standing of your practice. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of outsourced medical billing services. 

Less Stress 

When your patients don’t pay their bills, it results in cashflow mishaps, making it more difficult for your practice to pay the bills and operating costs. Having this constant threat looming in the background causes stress to everyone involved in making sure the practice is running smoothly. 

Choosing outsourced medical billing services and getting started with medical billing software can eliminate this issue. 

Improved Workflow 

When you opt to outsource your medical billing services to a trusted third party, you immediately relieve a practical and psychological load. Without having to worry about chasing up unpaid bills, your practice will notice an improvement in workflow and productivity and obviously focus better on treating patients. 

Saving Time 

Typically, individuals who get into healthcare don’t do it because they love administration and chasing patients for money. They do it because they like to help other people manage their health. 

However, unless your bill collection requirements are being met by someone else, you’ll end up spending more time chasing down bills than actually practicing. 

If your practice caters to several hundred patients in a month and each of them needs to be contacted and chased for payment, it’s easy to see how that could become extraordinarily time-consuming. It would almost be worth hiring another full-time employee to take care of it. But is that really the best option? 

Saving Money 

While hiring another employee solely for the purpose of collecting payment may sound like a good idea at first. However, you should also consider the extra cost in terms of paying for paid holidays, employee healthcare, training costs to keep up with ever-changing guidelines, and employee benefits. 

Choosing outsourced medical billing services allows you to bypass all of these extra costs while also catering to possible variability. For example, it might not take always take full-time hours to get the job done, and it may vary from week to week. Medical billing and coding services from a third party are a great solution for getting the job done in the most efficient manner possible. 

Bill Compliance 

Non-compliance to bill payments is one of the largest threats to small medical practices. Choosing to delegate your bill collection to a trusted partner is a strategic and highly recommended move. It eliminates the threat of patient non-compliance to bills and helps practices get paid on time. 

Patient Satisfaction 

Not only do outsourced medical billing services help you and your practice run smoothly, but they also improved patient experience and satisfaction. Medical billing and coding services offer more streamlined ways to pay bills which contributes to the overall patient experience. 

Increased Revenue 

Having debt collection taken care of by a third party will increase your work productivity and improve your practice’s cash flow. All of the benefits mentioned above result in an overall increase in company revenue. 

Streamlined System 

You shouldn’t have to go through a demanding training session to understand the system and maximize your medical billing services. Instead, you can expect your system to be up and running in less than a day, and your personnel to be completely comfortable using it after only a few hours of training. 

The Bottom Line 

Poorly organized bill collection systems are one of the greatest threats to small medical practices. Luckily, you can outsource your medical billing needs to a third party who will take care of everything so you can do the work you love. 

Choosing outsourced medical billing services has many advantages, including saving on time and costs, increasing revenue by increasing bill compliance and improving efficiency, and reducing workplace stress.