What is the difference between the EMR and the EHR? Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably; however, there is a distinct difference. An EMR is site specific—for example, a physician practice. There could be multiple individual sites where an EMR resides (from the primary care physician to the specialty practice). The EHR is all of the EMRs and other health information, such as pharmacy records, payer/financial historical health information, etc. Therefore, the EHR is the electronic medical record containing all of an individual’s health information (the sum of all of the EMRs). Accelerating movement toward the EHR has added to the complexity of the selection process, in that the number of systems on the market has increased. However, selecting a system does not have to be a daunting task. The first and most obvious question that needs to be answered is. Where do we start? Well, you do not start with the vendor. Acquiring any major systems purchase must begin with a process. Why would you need to establish a process? Establishing a process or approach minimizes financial risks to your practice and prepares you for the migration from paper to the electronic record. The following approach may be considered in preparing to purchase a system: * Designate a work team and establish a strategic work plan * Research the basic functionality of EMR and EHR systems * Become acquainted with the terminology or technology language * Conduct a readiness assessment and analysis of workflow * Identify criteria for selecting a system
* Identifying potential vendors
* Prepare a request for proposal (RFP)
* Prepare for vendor demonstrations
* Make your selection
Many of the promised benefits of electronic health care records are in eliminating redundant boxes in drab workflow charts, reducing errors and cutting costs. But some of the sexier possibilities include leveraging the wealth of health info to...