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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

Related Resources

Showcase of Success: e-Health solutions are changing health care in Canada

Information technology is transforming health care for Canadians. From connecting remote communities through telehealth to fully integrated electronic health records, the path to better and safer care is unfolding for all of us. Here are some of the many examples of eHealth solutions improving care across the country.

Telehealth: Maximizing health care resources to serve patient needs

Telehealth services exist in every Canadian province and territory, linking health care professionals and patients through videoconferencing to enhance access to care. A wide range of clinical services is available and is tailored to the needs of patients in each area.

MedicAlert information accessible online in Nova Scotia's ambulances

Paramedics in Nova Scotia (NS) have been able to access patients' MedicAlert information via their onboard laptops since 2009 and it is paying off.  The link enables them to see critical patient data such as allergy warnings, medication lists, physicians' names and emergency contacts.

Alberta launches patient portal and wait times website

Alberta has launched MyHealth, a patient portal that gives Albertans access to health care information, online tools and wellness tips.

Early adopter promotes use of electronic tools for physicians

Dr. Kendall Ho is an emergency physician at Vancouver General Hospital as well as director of UBC Faculty of Medicine eHealth Strategy Office.

Children in Northwest Territories benefit from TeleSpeech

Ten per cent of school-aged children living in remote communities in the Northwest Territories require speech language assistance.

Dialysis patients in Newfoundland and Labrador benefit from Telehealth technology

In Newfoundland and Labrador, kidney patients receiving dialysis (blood purification) treatments at their local clinics are using Telehealth technology for weekly meetings with their nephrologists (specialists).

Physician's remote access to EMR system a boon for patients

For patients waiting for test results, learning your doctor is on vacation can be alarming.

Mobile TeleOphthalmology clinics bring diagnosis and care to First Nations communities in B.C.

There are many health problems associated with diabetes.

Among the most serious are heart disease, renal failure, amputation of the lower limbs and retinal damage, or retinopathy. People with retinopathy are 29 times more likely than the general population to go blind. As a result, diabetes is a leading cause of blindness.

Alberta Netcare Portal links circle of care for Alberta patients

Alberta is one of the Canadian provinces enjoying the most success developing and implementing a single, province-wide Electronic Health Record (EHR).

New health technology benefits people with chronic disease

It is a nightmare scenario for any family physician: failing to order a test for a patient, and finding out later that something important got missed as a result.

Patient portals open the door to patient-driven care

For many years, health care has been a rather one-sided affair. You went to your doctor's office and told her how you felt. After that, your role was mainly to fill out forms and follow your doctor's orders.

Electronic medical records deliver better front-line care

Patients will be the big winners as electronic information tools become more common in the practice of medicine, says Dr. John Campbell of Newfoundland’s Killick Health Services.

The impact of digital health - Inspire others, Share your story

Canadian health care is ever-changing with many of us already gaining clinical value and seeing the benefits to our patients from digital health technology. Canada Health Infoway's public education campaign, Better Health Together, consists of identifying Canadians who already know firsthand the benefits of digital health and who might have a story or experience to share.

Diagnostic Imaging speeds access to care for accident victim

Brendan Seaton, an Ontario man who broke his ankle during a motorcycle trip this summer, has high praise for the benefits of the Northwest Territories' Diagnostic Imaging Picture Archiving and Communications System (DI/PACS).

Empowering patients with personal health management

Improving patient care with Sunnybrook’s MyChart™ personal health record and TELUS health space™

Innovations in consumer health and wellness technologies are starting to take hold in Canada. And that means Canadians have more choices in communicating with health care providers and managing their own health.

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