Government Shouldn’t Talk about Ill Defined EHR Term

A little while back, the Health Care blog has a pretty interesting post talking about how to define the term EHR. Normally, this debate would just be an academic debate which in the end nobody would really care about. You may remember my rant about EMR versus EHR which was really just me complaining the Google didn’t recognize both terms and send more traffic to my website (just being honest) along with me feeling like there’s little practical difference in the terms EMR and EHR(despite others disagreement).

Instead of EHR being basically a marketing tool for EMR vendors, the HITECH act’s use of the word “certified EHR” has made the meaning of this term rather important. Well, at least it’s important if you care about the $18 billion that they plan on spending on EHR software.

The above linked article suggested that ONCHIT should adopt the term “EHR technology” to replace the terms EMR and EHR. They suggested that the term would be defined as “An information technology tool, such as a software program or application, that is used to create, consume, manage or transport health data in electronic or digital form.

This discussion reminds me of my previous post Hospital CIO’s take on CCHIT. In it, this hospital CIO suggests that a problem with CCHIT certification is that it assumes that only one program would provide all the needed EHR functionality. However, maybe the best implementation is a group of programs that are more effective than an individual EHR could accomplish.

What is becoming more clear to me is that the government really needs to start focusing on the results it wants to achieve as opposed to trying to prescribe what IT implementation will best achieve those results. Let’s leave the academics of defining EHR to the academics.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, 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.