Nitin Chhoda describes the difference between electronic health record and electronic medical record. He gives examples on how these two terms are intertwined, and how they relate to the whole process of physical therapy practice.
While an EMR is a focused digital record that is only used by a single medical clinic, an electronic health record (EHR) is a digital record that is produced so it can be shared between two clinics.
For example, if a patient is admitted to the emergency room with injuries sustained from a car accident, an electronic medical record is started by the hospital.
Until the hospital discharges the patient, they will continue to update the record with diagnoses made, procedures conducted, and medications that have been given to the patient. Electronic health record implementation is still not present at this time.
Let’s say that the major injury sustained by the patient is a broken leg. When the patient is discharged, they will still be in a cast and will not be able to walk until the broken bones have healed. But once they have healed, it’s time for physical therapy.
EMR to EHR
When the hospital or clinician who has been treating the patient up until this point decides to prescribe physical therapy, they will produce and send an electronic health record to the physical therapist’s clinic.
EHR or electronic health record is a form of communication between medical professionals that summarize the information in a medical record and ensure that the new clinic has all the critical information about each referred patient.
Of course, electronic health record is not entirely mandatory and even transferring patient information from one clinic to another is not required. If the patient did not go to physical therapy right away, but then had trouble reducing pain and limping due to weakness after their injury, they could go to a physical therapist without bringing their official medical history with them.
A patient can request a personal health record (PHR), which is the term for an electronic health record handled by the patient. Or, the patient can have an EHR sent from their previous clinician to the new physical therapist. If they cannot do neither of these things, they can always attempt to describe their injuries to the physical therapist.
Electronic Health Record as a Long-Term
In some ways, the benefits of sharing electronic health record are more long term. In a patient-by-patient situation, clinicians may find it much easier to communicate electronically.
But the broader implications have to do with aggregate data. If clinicians can readily share statistics on the success of certain treatments for particular diseases, they can make more educated and informed decisions when making new treatment plans.
For now, most people who are used to using email and communicating quickly and efficiently, electronic health record seems to be the smartest way to cooperate with other medical clinics. In the future, they may transform the way that clinicians make the most of all available information.