Many of you have likely noticed that I like to use the terms EMR and EHR almost synonymously. In fact, it’s kind of a game for me now. I generally try to stick with one term for a certain blog post, but I even break that rule on occasion. I guess the thing is that it really doesn’t matter to me at all.
I don’t like to debate the meanings and definitions of words since it doesn’t matter how you define a term. Instead, I just try and communicate the substance of the issues. Words matter as part of that communication, but whether I call it an EMR or an EHR doesn’t change the value of what I’m trying to communicate (at least 99% of the time).
There are a few rare cases when I do differentiate. For example, I would likely never say that you need a “certifed EMR” to get the available HITECH Act stimulus money. I wouldn’t do so because the legislation specifically says “certified EHR” and so I’d respect the verbiage. Although, these cases are few and far between.
Plus, I try to be the voice of the physician. I’d bet if you asked most physicians the difference between an EMR and EHR they’d likely laugh, walk away or know what an EMR was but ask you to define the term EHR. I, like most physicians, don’t care what you call it. They (and I) care more about the substance of selecting, implementing, using, maximizing, enjoying and even sometimes enduring an EMR or EHR.