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Electronic Health Record

Overview

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) extends the notion of an Electronic Medical Record to include the concept of cross-institutional data sharing. Thus an EHR contains data from a subset of each institution’s EMR (that is agreed upon by the institution). An EHR may also reside “entirely within one institution” and link the various affiliated practice sites together. The EHR is generally patient-focused and spans episodes of care rather than a single encounter. Excerpt from Rupasi S. Lloyd, Accepting the Inevitable: Trends, Expected Outcomes, and what to Look for as Electronic Health Record Implementation Goes Forward, 5 Teaching Hospitals & Academic Medical Centers 1, 11 (January 2007).

Policy

EHRs are designed to move with the patient—to the specialist, the hospital, the nursing home, the next state, or even across the country.

Some benefits of EHRs include: • The information gathered by the primary care provider tells the emergency department clinician about the patient’s life threatening allergy, so that care can be adjusted appropriately, even if the patient is unconscious. • A patient can log on to his own record and see the trend of the lab results over the last year, which can help motivate him to take his medications and keep up with the lifestyle changes that have improved the numbers. • The lab results run last week are already in the record to tell the specialist what she needs to know without running duplicate tests. • The clinician’s notes from the patient’s hospital stay can help inform the discharge instructions and follow-up care and enable the patient to move from one care setting to another more smoothly.

From U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, http://www.healthit.gov/buzz-blog/electronic-health-and-medical-records/emr-vs-ehr-difference/.