What is Medical Software
The most common and discussed medical software is Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) which are systems track medical and patient information. Although they are often conflated, EHR and EMR solutions focus on different aspects of medical information. And that one little letter in the acronym does have a large difference in the overall system. “Dog” and “Dig” are only one letter apart, and can be related (especially if your pet has a history of burying things), but they are not the same thing.
Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software is primarily concerned with digitizing clinician information, encompassing the medical and treatment information of a patient in a single practice. In essence, and EMR is an electronic copy of a patient’s chart. Along with reducing physical paperwork in an office, EMRs provide several automation enhancements to a provider’s practice.
EMRs permit automatic reminders to be sent out when a patient is due for screenings, checkups, or other scheduled activities. Based on historical data, providers can easily track a patient’s health over time based upon various parameters, such as blood pressure readings, number of office visits, vaccination schedules, and medication refills.
Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems include EMR information, but are designed to encompass all patient history and information and securely share it between multiple providers, such as primary care, laboratories, and specialists, as well as with the patient themselves.
A key facet of an EHR as opposed to an EMR is that a patient’s information moves with them throughout ongoing care. This sharing of data enables providers to readily gain insight into the patient’s history, coordinate with other practices for related tests or care, and easily consult with other providers. Having mutually accessible information reduces issues and enables patient-centric care to be handled with greater ease than with practice-limited data. For instance, allergy information and previous treatments can be automatically displayed when a patient visits a new provider. Being able to easily access notes and treatment plans from previous providers can help influence future care. And the common communication format enables providers to send information to one another easily, without the need to mail physical paperwork back and forth.
Side benefits to EHR systems include automatic appointment reminders, ease of scheduling, and direct communication between providers and the patient. Additionally, patients can access their on-going care plan so that they can easily perform any required at-home actions, such as acquiring certain medications or carrying out a physical therapy regimen.
Personal Health Records (PHRs) are similar to EHRs, but are designed to be managed by the patient themselves for personal tracking and self-care. PHRs are often not considered during the EHR/EMR debate as they are not used by medical professionals.