What exactly is happening with my healthcare records?

By abby, Updated: Apr 22 at 1:13pm - Uncategorized
The three terms you have probably heard in the world of healthcare are Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Personal Healthcare Records (PHR) and Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR). Most people use these interchangably, however these terms can be very different.

For example EMR is an electronic record of an episode of medical care, whether inpatient or outpatient. The EHR is like the EMR that are also appropriately shared with stakeholders outside the hospital, doctor‘s office or other EMR sources. Parts of the EMR are shared, as the EHR insurance companies, government agencies, patients themselves, and employers. An article in Medical Economics, quoting an Institute of Medicine report, defines parts of the EHR:

Health information and data. The system holds what‘s normally in a paper chart – problem lists, medication lists, test results.
Results management. An EHR lets you receive lab results, radiology reports, and even X-ray images electronically.
Order entry. No more prescription pads. All your orders are automated.
Decision support. An EHR is smart enough to warn you about drug interactions, help you make a diagnosis, and point you to evidence-based guidelines when you ponder treatment options.
Electronic communications and connectivity. You can talk in cyberspace with patients, your medical assistant, referring doctors, hospitals, and insurers—securely. And your system interfaces with everyone else‘s. Interoperability is the key word.
Patient support. Patients can receive educational material via the EHR and enter data themselves through online questionnaires and home monitoring devices.
Administrative processes. The system lends a hand with practice management. Patients can schedule their own appointments and staffers can check on insurance eligibility.
Reporting and population health management. How many patients did you treat for tuberculosis in 2003? How many of your diabetics have their HbA1c under 7? An EHR will spit out the answers, thanks to a searchable database.

A Personal Health Record is exactly that, personal. It is the part of the EMR/EHR that an individual person "owns” and controls.

The NAHIT report defines the following:

Electronic Medical Record (EMR): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that can be created, gathered, managed, and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff within one health care organization.

Electronic Health Record (EHR): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conforms to nationally recognized interoperability standards and that can be created, managed, and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff across more than one health care organization.

Personal Health Record (PHR): An electronic record of health-related information on an individual that conforms to nationally recognized interoperability standards and that can be drawn from multiple sources while being managed, shared, and controlled by the individual.

Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO): A health information organization that brings together health care stakeholders within a defined geographic area and governs health information exchange among them for the purpose of improving health and care in that community.

EMR adoption by hospitals, which is a prerequisite for EHRs and PHRs is rated on a 0-7 scale, with 0 being no EMR and 7 being a full, totally paperless EMR. On this scale, in 2007, about 20% of hospitals were at Stage 0, 20% at Stage 1, 50% at Stage 2, and 10% at Stage 3. None were at Stage 7, but as of December 2009, 28 hospitals (less than 1%) had reached Stage 7 (HIMSS data).
 
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