Electronic Medical Records, Electronic Health Record and Personal Health Records

Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are and electronic version of the chart that clinicians use. This records contains information about patient demographics (age, gender, date of birth and residence), known conditions and allergies. It also contains a record of interactions with the patient, care plans and investigations (labs, diagnostic imaging, specialist consult). Often EMRs have a scheduling function where appointments are booked and patients are checked in. Sometimes EMRs contain advance report mechanisms to show how practice resources are being used and to assist with planning and fiscal reporting. EMRs can support a clinicians by flagging preventative visits and screenings that are required or trend data (like blood glucose) over time.

In the North West LHIN there are 7 different EMRs being used.

Physicians on OntarioMD

Figure 1:  Source OntarioMD as of December 2016

EMRs are different than Electronic Health Records.  An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is contributed to by multiple systems and multiple providers and is meant to represent a wider view on all the services and partners involved in a patients care.  In the NW LHIN the Connecting Ontario – Northern and Eastern Region has a Clinical Document Viewer is the beginning of a regional EHR.

A Personal Health Record (PHR) belongs to and is managed by the patient.  It contains information from the EMR that is important for the patient to have access regardless of where they are receiving care. PHRs often include the ability to self-track health data like weight, blood pressure or blood sugar. PHRs are really useful for people with complex conditions who move between settings and find information.