EMR versus EHR Rant

If you’ve been reading this blog for a little while, you might have noticed that I’m really struggling with whether I should use the term EMR or EHR. You can read about the difference between EMR and EHR on the wiki.

The problem I have is that for all practical purposes, EMR and EHR are being used synonymously. Yes, if we get to the nitty gritty there is a difference. However, if a doctor says they use an EMR or EHR in their office they’d mean the exact same thing. If I say I’m helping someone select an EMR or EHR in their office it would mean the same thing.

Basically, every EMR software could be called an EHR software. It’s really just branding. My problem is that I prefer the term EMR. It’s what I first used (thus the name of the website) and it’s what I used exclusively on this website for a couple years.

Now it’s en vogue to use the term EHR. I’m not very fond of the term EHR, but I almost feel like I have to use it since it’s the term people are starting to use more and more.

What kills me even more is that I want to be at the top of Google for EHR and EMR. However, Google doesn’t have common sense to realize that they’re essentially the same thing and should be ranked in similar ways. So, I walk this balance of using both terms and mastering neither of them on Google.

Since I’m on Google, I also want to openly tell Google to stop messing around with my Google Rank for the term EMR. Google keeps bouncing this website from the first page to the second page. Obviously the first page sends a lot more traffic this way and so you can imagine which I prefer. More importantly, Google should realize that this website is easily in the top 10 websites talking about EMR. If someone can show me 10 websites about EMR that are better than mine, then I’ll take it back. Until then, Google please place EMR and HIPAA permanently on the first page of results for the term EMR. Thanks!

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, 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, EXPO.health, 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.


  • John,
    It’s funny you write this article, the use of both acronyms bothers me as well. Why can’t it just be EMR? Even though my company is named EMRjobs.com, I’m not biased. Google organic listing is huge for driving traffic. Good luck.

  • I hate to disillusion you but your page 1 and 2 results are probably only specific for your city or state. Google has hundreds of servers and the search results depend on the location of your web site registration and hosting plus your search location. Try getting others in another state to do the same search, or use proxy servers in other states. Also clear your Google cookies. This is going to get worse as Google personalizes search meaning if you search for HIPPA and EMR and click on emaandhippa a few times the results will skew toward emrandhippa – not good for new users trying to find you.

  • Erik,
    That’s really the main point. I’m not biased and I feel like I could use either in most situations and no one would blink an eye. Google doesn’t seem to understand this reality yet.

  • Lodewijk Bos,
    I loved this part of what you said on your blog, “The least we can say about the discussion on EHR, EMR, PHR and all the variations on that definition theme (don’t forget all the other language ones) is that it shows a consistency with the general problem of the records discussion, we can’t agree on standards.”

    Sad, but true.

  • Hey Michael Milne,
    I’m definitely not disillusioned. I’m very familiar with what Google’s doing to change search results. Actually, I think that my key competitive advantage on this blog versus other HIT blogs is that I better understand how Google works.

    I have done much of what you mention to measure my ranking on Google. I even have to log out of my google account so that the changes I’ve made to search on my google account aren’t represented. However, I don’t really use those as my measure of where I rank. I mostly look at the number of referrals to my site from those search terms. It’s a markedly different number when Google lists me on the first page for the term EMR. Interestingly, I just made it to the first page of google for EHR thanks to this post.

    At the end of the day, Google has been very good to me and this site. However, if it wasn’t them it would be someone else.

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