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Understanding EHRs, EMRs and PHRs

Electronic health records (EHRs), electronic medical records (EMRs) and personal health records (PHRs) are similar terms but have different definitions and distinct purposes. At Canada Health Infoway, the terms are defined as follows:

  • Electronic Health Record: An electronic health record (EHR) refers to the systems that make up the secure and private lifetime record of a person's health and health care history. These systems store and share such information as lab results, medication profiles, key clinical reports (e.g., hospital discharge summaries), diagnostic images (e.g., X-rays), and immunization history. The information is available electronically to authorized health care providers.
  • Electronic Medical Record: An electronic medical record (EMR) is an office-based system that enables a health care professional, such as a family doctor, to record the information gathered during a patient's visit. This information might include a person's weight, blood pressure and clinical information, and would previously have been hand-written and stored in a file folder in a doctor's office. Eventually the EMR will also allow the doctor to access information about a patient's complete health record, including information from other health care providers that is stored in the EHR.
  • Personal Health Record: A complete or partial health record under the custodianship of a person(s) (e.g. a patient or family member) that holds all or a portion of the relevant health information about that person over their lifetime. This is also a person-centric health record, but unlike the EHR, the patient has control or “custodianship” over the record, rather than the health care provider.

 

Implementation Support

There are numerous valuable resources available to support clinicians and administrators in implementing and advancing the effective use of digital health.

Clinician Peer Networks provide clinicians implementing digital health solutions with insights and best practice guidelines from their peers who have already gone through the experience.

Infoway works with the vendor community to certify digital health solutions, encourage the use of standards and promote the development of interoperable solutions. This can make choosing a solution easier.

To help organizations and individuals manage changes to their workflow, the Change Management toolkit includes information about a wide range of topics such as methodologies, approaches, best practices and case studies to ease the transition to a new way of doing work.

In addition, Infoway has partnered with experts to share tools that are specific to particular types of digital health, such as e-booking and e-medication reconciliation (eMedRec):

What Is Digital Health

Digital health refers to the use of information technology/electronic communication tools, services and processes to deliver health care services or to facilitate better health. Infoway’s vision is healthier Canadians through innovative digital health solutions.

Canada’s digital health initiative involves creating a network of systems to securely connect and share health information with authorized care providers. Increasingly, it is providing tools and information to empower you to better understand and manage your health and the health of your family.

Learn how digital health is making a difference in one mom’s life

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Digital Health Working for You.

 

Transforming health care in Canada through health information technology.

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