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Electronic Medical Record

Electronic Medical Record (EMR)


Although the term Electronic Medical Record (EMR) is sometimes used interchangeably with the related term Electronic Health Record, the two terms are distinct.

EMRs are a digital version of the paper charts in a physician’s office. An EMR contains the medical and treatment history of the patients in a practice.

Agency Guidance

In addition, EMRs allow clinicians to: track data over time; easily identify which patients are due for preventive screenings or checkups; check how their patients are doing on certain parameters—such as blood pressure readings or vaccinations; and monitor and improve overall quality of care within the practice.

From U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,


Furthermore, an EMR contains clinical applications that can act on the data contained within this repository—for example, a clinical decision support system (CDSS), a computerized provider order entry system (CPOE), a controlled medical vocabulary, a results reporting system, etc. In general terms, EMRs are clinician-focused in that they enhance or augment the workflow of clinicians or administrators.

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).