Knowing the Importance and Differences of EMR, EHR & PHR

Differences of EMR, EHR & PHR

The Healthcare sector is bearing the fruits of Technology usage and massive digitalization in the last couple of decades.

People must have experienced a situation when they used to visit a physician for consultation and get confused with the prescription slip or medicine receipt, as they were unable to read even a single word due to the bad handwriting of the doctor.

Well, this has been the past now, as most hospitals and healthcare service providers have already implemented an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system to manage patient records and other information.

For better medical treatment and documentation, hospitals have started using Personal Health Records (PHR) and Electronic Medical Records (EMR).

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The definitions of these health record terms are quite complex for a layman person, once the kind of data, users, security protocols and settings, and backend technology. Also, these terms have different sort of definitions and understandings all around the world, which creates a lot of confusion, both inside and outside the healthcare industry.

However, the fact of the matter is that once these definitional barriers are broken, you may find a lot of commonalities in these terms. If you are planning to develop an electronic, medical, or patient health record system, you must read this article.

We will give a detailed description of these terms EMR, HER, and PHR, along with a detailed description of various types of health records, their comparison, along with some handy tips on what type of records you must use for your healthcare service organization.


What is EMR (Electronic Medical Records)?

It is an electronic record of the medical care treatment of a patient, be it an in-patient or out-patient. EMR is a digital equivalent of usual paper documents or charts at a hospital or clinic, that contains general information such as patient details, treatment details, medical history of the patient, and other vital information collected by the medical practice.

These medical records are owned by a specific healthcare service provider or the hospital. EMR is generally collected for internal usage and it remains inside the medical practice, until and unless there is an exceptional or legal situation.

As far as the Technology aspect is concerned, the software is an integral part of an EMR system, which establishes good coordination between different procedures, and departments. EMR software takes care of the reception and transfer of information between different departments while keeping the information secure and protected. 


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Benefits of Electronic Medical Records

EMR offers a plethora of benefits to Healthcare organizations and patients.

  • It improves treatment and diagnosis
  • It enhances the e-Prescribing and clinical documentation capabilities of an organization.
  • Offers better patient care and results in management.
  • Offers accelerated care and decision-making abilities for medical professionals.
  • It addresses the personal security aspect to meet patients’ privacy concerns.
  • EMR enables an organization to increase the health-related safety of patients.
  • EMR allows doctors and staff to prevent medical errors while recording vital information.
  • EMR can enhance productivity by increasing the number of patients served per day 
  • It also helps a healthcare organization improve its patient workflows.
  • It offers space-saving by converting all records into digital form.
  • It allows transferring patient data from one department or location without any hassles.
  • EMR reduces operational costs and other labor expenses.
  • EMRs are scalable electronic medical records, that will grow with time and enable the management of data.
  • EMR system offers better accuracy and efficiency for patient billing and other records.


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What is Electronic Health Record (EHR)?

Healthcare services providers always keep looking for methods to reduce their operational overheads, save time and keep their focus on patient care and treatment procedures.

An EHR serves this purpose and helps them eliminate a great deal of paperwork and reduces the time taken by healthcare staff to fetch the patient’s record and several other vital information. The EHR offers important information to healthcare workers. 

Even lauds the EHR system as it has stated that around 80% of healthcare service providers using EHRs have observed a sizeable improvement in their productivity and process efficiency. Almost 75% of service provider has stated that EHRs helps them to receive laboratory results way quicker than before. The doctors can give e-Prescriptions, which saves a lot of time.

Electronic Medical Records

The EHR is almost like the EMR, but, the scope of EHR is more than the recording of normal clinical data in a hospital. EHR represents collective health data from all the doctors, specialists, laboratory technicians, or clinicians who have contributed to the patient’s diagnosis and treatment. 

This detailed health record document could be shared with other healthcare service providers. EHR is developed by a healthcare service provider, but it is a more patient-centric entity, that is more useful as far as patient diagnosis and treatment are concerned.

Benefits of using an Electronic Health Record system

  • It allows easy access to clinical data.
  • It allows healthcare providers to track the health of a patient.
  • It prevents unnecessary medical errors and provides patient safety and support for clinical decisions.
  • EHR system is able to establish and maintain efficient clinical workflows.
  • EHRs are entirely paperless, hence it diminishes the requirements to store, manage and retrieve bulky and costly paper records.
  • It ensures continuity of healthcare among service providers by making the patient health information accessible.
  • EHR can be shared with many healthcare service providers so that they can offer collaborative patient care.
  • EHR allows patients to have an active involvement in their diagnosis and treatment, and they can view their health records while their treatment is underway.
  • EHR allows seamless and transparent interaction with affiliated hospitals, clinics, laboratories, and pharmacies.
  • EHR system allows service providers to access health charts. This improves the coordination among the different specialists and departments.
  • EHRs offer an electronic network through which healthcare professionals can send and check their referrals, manage billing processes, and share invoices with patients and other staff members.
  • EHRs can raise an alert to the doctor if a prescription could be harmful to a patient. This happens by checking the medical history of a patient and understanding past medication interactions and allergies.
  • EHR-aided patient portals and mobile applications allow patients to fetch their healthcare information remotely from the comfort of their homes
  • EHR system enables electronic prescriptions to be transmitted directly to pharmacies. This saves patients’ time and effort as all the medicine are processed without any delays or efforts.

EHR system Benefits


What is Personal Health Record (PHR)?

As the name suggests, PHR is managed and handled by the patients themselves. It allows them to maintain a log of their health conditions, medical history, treatment information, medications given, allergies, and a lot more information. These medical records are either generated by the patients themselves or could be by the healthcare service providers, for personal use or patient engagement purpose, respectively. 

The PHR system allows patients to have an active involvement in their medical care process, this also empowers them to make the right decisions as they have all the vital information at their disposal.

PHR works on the same lines as the EHR system, as patients can share their medical information with their doctors and healthcare professionals whenever required. The PHR record consists of clinical information from physician consultations, diagnostic and laboratory reports, data from monitoring devices, and wearable activity trackers.  


Benefits of Patient Health Record (PHR)

PHR offers an effective and efficient method for a patient to stay engaged and manage their ongoing treatment. PHR system offers many benefits that include:

  • PHR enables patients to work and coordinate with doctors as a team, which usually minimizes potential health complications.
  • PHR allows patients to manage their health records. 
  • PHS system enables patients to ensure that information contained in their health records is correct, updated, and inclusive.
  • This system helps the patients to have the information ready in event of emergencies, while traveling or when a patient visits a new physician.
  • A PHR record is a combination of data from an EHR, along with patient-generated health data. It is more meaningful data as it is powered and managed by the patients for their own care.
  • PHR system helps in remote monitoring and effective home care, as patients can provide updates to their care providers.
  • PHR enables doctors to have a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of their patient’s health, which helps them to ensure better treatment.
  • PHR data could be shared with various healthcare service providers so that patients can take a second opinion or further follow-up treatment and care.
  • PHR improves healthcare adherence and health outcomes for patients.
  • With the help of PHR systems, patients can share healthcare professionals the information they need right away, instead of undertaking a test again, this allows them to save money and cut down any unnecessary efforts. 


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EMR, EHR, and PHR – The Similarities

Though the EMR, EHR, and PHR are different, they do offer some similarities among themselves. Here are a few commonalities in these systems.

  • All are Data repositories
  • All deal with the medical and healthcare records of a patient, though EMR contains the word ‘medical’ in it.
  • All are related to the health of a patient, though it is EHR that contains the word ‘health’ in it.
  • All three are electronic entities managed by software, though only EHR and EMR have the word ‘electronic’ in their names.
  • All are highly private and confidential in nature since they contain the personal, medical, and confidential information of a patient. Though is it only PHR that contains the word ‘personal’ in it? 

What is the difference between EMR, EHR, and PHR


What is the difference between EMR, EHR, and PHR?

Well, this is among the biggest confusion among the people, as they are not aware of the difference between EMR, EHR, and PHR. To offer you a better picture, we have compared these systems using the 3 vital parameters, end-user, the type of information they include, and last but not the least, the ability to access this information by others.


End-userOnly Medical professionals in one specific department can use it Doctors across different hospitals, laboratory professionals, pharmacy experts, and patients can use itThis is used only by the Patients
Type of informationIt contains information about the Medical history, past prescriptions, and current healthcare conditionsIt contains the Electronic records of healthcare-related information of a patientIt includes the information keyed in by the patients themselves along with the data from other sources such as laboratories, diagnostics, and pharmacies
Information AccessEMR can be generated, fetched, consulted, and managed by authorized healthcare professionals within a single healthcare organization or a hospitalEHR can be generated, fetched, consulted, and managed by authorized healthcare professionals from multiple healthcare organizations or hospitalPHR can be generated, fetched, and managed by the patients.


EHR vs EMR vs PHR – Which one will work for you?

If you want to develop software for healthcare practice, then check these aspects.

  • EMR is appropriate for storing healthcare data by medical specialists within a single department. If the proposed healthcare service facility possesses expertise in specific healthcare areas, such as gynecology or dentistry, then you must select EMR (Electronic Medical Records). 
  • EHR enables multiple medical professionals from different departments to access and exchange healthcare records. If the proposed healthcare service provider facility includes multiple departments or expertise such as different specializations, laboratories, emergency services, X Rays, and surgery, and if that facility needs to offer huge transmission of patient-related data between different departments, then you should choose HER (Electronic Health Records) system. 
  • PHR helps patients to keep a track of their health condition and recovery process. If the proposed healthcare service provider keeps patients first and wants to keep a track of their recovery, in such an event, it is advisable to use PHR (Patient Healthcare Records). 


Future of Electronic Health Data and EMR, PHR, EHR?

As the healthcare sector has started embracing the technology, most healthcare service providers have started utilizing EMR systems aggressively to store and manage their patient’s data.

However, there is still a scope to improve health record management, and innovative methods should be employed to improve the health data exchange between different healthcare entities to address the data security concerns.

Future of Electronic Health Data and EMR, PHR, EHR

Many Government and Public organizations have started using EHR systems, as it has proved their worth and assured mutual benefits for both service providers and patients. EHR is transparent in nature, it has also fixed many gaps in EMR-based systems.

EHR system has proved its worth as far as decision-making is concerned, it offers a better understanding of a patient’s health condition and medical history, which helps a healthcare specialist to take the correct course of treatment.

PHR (Personal Health Records) is also moving steps ahead to ensure the meaningful use of patient health data so that healthcare service providers can avail of various benefits. PHR offers all benefits of EHR, such as patient engagement, so that they can manage and own their own data.

PHR offers doctors a better insight into patient health, which may be out of the purview of the hospital or the healthcare service provider, which allows them to have a better understanding of patient health, which helps them to offer better treatment and improve the health outcomes.


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Electronic health record systems are helping doctors and clinicians to enhance the quality of healthcare services. It also allows governments to improve public health decisions and address the healthcare challenges of sections of our society. 

Here technology plays a big role and even the physicians and other healthcare staff will be evaluated on their clinical expertise as well as their technological competence.

In the future, the quality of healthcare services will be decided by the combination of physicians’ expertise, access to medical records, as well as decision-making capabilities.

We are moving from a traditional healthcare system to an interoperable and technology-abled healthcare ecosystem, where doctors, diagnosticians, and patients can share information, records, and facts to ensure dramatic improvements in patient care.

We are sure that the above information may help you to gain a better understanding of the EMR, EHR & PHR. All of them are known for their great contribution to the healthcare service sector and are well appreciated by healthcare services professionals and patients with the same rigor.

In case, you are interested in getting developed such an electronic record-based system for your healthcare facility, then you may get in touch with us, as we are experienced firms that excel in this arena and are keen to offer amazing outcomes.

Rahul Mathur

Rahul Mathur is the founder and managing director of ARKA Softwares, a company renowned for its outstanding mobile app development and web development solutions. Delivering high-end modern solutions all over the globe, Rahul takes pleasure in sharing his experiences and views on the latest technological trends.

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