DQ: Discuss the importance of interoperability in relationship to both types of records and to how the EMR and EHR improve quality and access to care

NUR 514 Topic 6 DQ 2

DQ Discuss the importance of interoperability in relationship to both types of records and to how the EMR and EHR improve quality and access to care

Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are not the same. Though they are only one letter apart, EMRs and EHRs actually have very different functions. Both are digital programs that house patient information, thus greatly decreasing the reliance on physical paper copies. Both can be used for data tracking and as a tool to ensure patients are receiving proper preventative care, such as immunizations and screenings (Garrett & Seidman, 2011).

An EMR is a digitized version of a patient’s medical chart from one specific facility. It includes provider notes, diagnoses, and treatments, all of which occurred at that one clinic in particular (Garrett & Seidman, 2011). EMRs are not easily transferrable to other facilities, however, and often may need to be physically printed out for the information to be shared outside of the clinic/facility (Garrett & Seidman, 2011).

While an EMR focuses on the “medical” aspect, an EHR focuses on “health” as a whole, which is a much broader view (Garrett & Seidman, 2011). EHRs can do everything an EMR can do, and more. They can house information not just from one specific clinic or facility, but from all providers a patient may see, providing a holistic look at the patient’s care as a whole (Garrett & Seidman, 2011). Information can be shared between facilities without the cumbersome process of printing and faxing, providers can collaborate with confidence knowing they’re seeing the same information, and the EHR moves with the patient wherever they go (Garrett & Seidman, 2011).

There are more than 800 certified commercial EHRs for inpatient facilities (DeNisco & Barker, 2016). A commonly used EHR is Epic, which is what my hospital system just switched to, from Cerner/ORCA. We made the switch to Epic for our inpatient facilities because our outpatient clinics were already using it, and Epic and Cerner did not share information with each other. While switching to Epic was not a smooth transition and we are still working through ongoing issues months later, it was a move made in the name of interoperability and patient quality and access to care. Having out outpatient and inpatient systems talk to each other provides invaluable information when a patient finds themselves inpatient. Providers and care teams can be confident that they see the holistic picture of the patient’s medical care, instead of having to fill in holes in records and spend time piecing together the history.

DeNisco, S.M., & Barker, A.M. (2016). Advanced practice nursing. Essential knowledge for the profession (3rd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Garrett, P., & Seidman, J. (2011). EMR vs EHR—what is the difference? The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

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I do agree with you that there are many similarities between EMRs and EHRs due to the fact that both involve digitalization of the healthcare information and processes. However, the biggest difference comes in the usability of the two records, while the EMRs are restricted to the medical procedures or interventions taken on providing care to the patient, the EHRs involves the general health

DQ Discuss the importance of interoperability in relationship to both types of records and to how the EMR and EHR improve quality and access to care
DQ Discuss the importance of interoperability in relationship to both types of records and to how the EMR and EHR improve quality and access to care

information about the patient from the biodata to any other relevant health information about the patient. Use of EHRs that have proved to be beneficial to the healthcare systems in a number of ways. It has helped the medical practitioners to access the whole of a patient’s medical history. The information helps the healthcare practitioner to be aware of any medical diagnoses the patient has undergone, any of the prescribed drugs the patient has used before and any allergies experienced by the patient (Dash et al., 2019). Additionally, the use of EHR has helped in analysis of demographics and clinical narratives together with the laboratory test results. This has ensured the reduced lag time hence the treatment process is able to be followed up quickly due to availability of the previous data. This also saves on cost hence in some cases no further examinations are needed because it is easier to infer from the previous existing data that is related to the current situation the patient is suffering from (De Benedictis et al., 2020).


Dash, S., Shakyawar, S. K., Sharma, M., & Kaushik, S. (2019). Big data in healthcare: management, analysis and future prospects. Journal of Big Data, 6(1).

De Benedictis, A., Lettieri, E., Gastaldi, L., Masella, C., Urgu, A., & Tartaglini, D. (2020). Electronic Medical Records implementation in hospital: An empirical investigation of individual and organizational determinants. PLOS ONE, 15(6), e0234108.

Re: Topic 6 DQ 2

Both an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) and Electronic Health Record (EHR) are digital records of patient health information. An EMR is best understood as a digital version of a patient’s chart, while an EHR contains the patient’s records from multiple doctors and provides a more holistic, long-term view of a patient’s health. Both EHRs and EMRs offer benefits to patients and healthcare providers such as; reduced medical errors improved health care, patient charts are more complete and clear, information sharing can reduce duplicate testing, saving patients and providers time, money and trouble, improved information access makes prescribing medication safer and more reliable, the promotion of patient participation can encourage healthier lifestyles and more frequent use of preventative care, and with more complete information means more accurate diagnoses (Practice Fusion, 2019). The primary benefit is the collaborative nature of an EHR. They are designed to be shared with other healthcare providers and to aid the level of care provided across the care continuum. EHRs also present the ability to track additional information inclusive of demographic data, lab results, insurance information, prior authorizations and data from personal wellness devices from across the internet, enhancing patient access to care. EHRs also played a significant role in the rollout of Meaningful Use, the Medicare/Medicaid program that mandates the use of EHR to improve patient outcomes and subsequently performance-based compensation. An HER, that is certified technology, meets meaningful use standards for incentive-based programs administered by the CMS (Practice Fusion, 2019). EMRs do not. EHRs are designed to be shared and expanded upon outside of a single practice, where EMRs are not. EMRs are restricted in scope to primarily diagnosis and treatment information. EHRs provide in-depth data across a patient’s medical history from a variety of sources. EHRs move with the patient across providers, states and even country borders. EMRs do not travel with patients easily. The ability to share information across organizations, or interoperability, is vital for organizations to meet requirements of the HITECH Act (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018. P. 185). Electronics records are expected to make healthcare more efficient and less costly and have a possibility to reduce the number of medical errors and therefore increase the safety of the patients.

The Health Insurance Portability and Patient Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA), requires that all protected health information be secure. Keeping health information safe is a major challenge for all members of the healthcare team. EHRs improve accountability with audit trails and security that detail who has accessed the medical records and when and what the individuals did while accessing each record. EHRs also keep information safe from anyone who does not have permission to see patient data. However, patients have access to their own EHRs through patient portals and can read, print and send their health information to providers, empowering patients to be their own advocate (Hoover, 2017).