Is it EMR or EHR…Am I Missing the Boat?

I’ve been looking through my statistics lately (which I actually do most days) and it seems like most people aren’t searching for EMR anymore. It seems like there is a shift going on in people’s minds that they are now starting to search for EHR as opposed to EMR. There’s a whole discussion on wikipedia about whether the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Electronic Health Record (EHR) articles should be merged.

In my book they are pretty much the same in most people’s minds. Sure, some people like to argue that EHR has features that reach out to patients and allow patients to enter medical data, but most EMRs have those type of features anyway. I prefer to look at it as an EMR with a patient portal. However, the in thing to do seems to be to call a company’s EMR an EHR. The fact is that most people that have an EMR have a number of patient facing portions of their EMR. Does that make them all an EHR?

Regardless, I’m just wondering if one day I’m going to need to rename my blog to EHR and HIPAA. I’ve kind of grown fond of EMR and HIPAA, but I’m definitely not oblivious to the fact that people are starting to seach for EHR and not EMR. Renaming my blog might be a great thing to help with getting better google searches on the subject. Yes, I do enjoy having a lot of traffic to my blog. It makes me happy to think that people read my stuff and that I’m participating in at least some small way to shape the evolution of EMRs EHRs.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • In my mind the two are very clear. An EMR is a record that every healthcare provider maintains for a patient. An EHR is the consolidation point of all of a patient’s healthcare information. The situation is not unlike the paper records process. A report from my podiatrists EMR goes to my primary care physician that maintains my EHR. Same for a hospital discharge notice.

    It isn’t “about” the features and functionality. It is about the provisioning of my healthcare information.

    I believe that my thoughts are in full keeping with (at least) the definitions in Canada, UK and ISO. Of course we now have an effort in the US to create our own definitions. I guess we’ll see what happens with that effort.

  • Tim,
    You described it well “An EMR is a record that every healthcare provider maintains for a patient. An EHR is the consolidation point of all of a patient’s healthcare information.”

    However, the problem is that often a healthcare provider’s EMR is the same software product that is used by patients to consolidate all their healthcare information. So, is it an EMR or EHR software product? The fact is that most of the software out there is both an EHR and an EMR but just to different levels.

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