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Differences between EMR and EHR

Differences Between EMR and EHR

You may have heard the acronyms EMR and EHR used synonymously, but do you know how they are different and why it is important?

An understanding of the differences between the terms electronic medical record (EMR) and electronic health record (EHR) reveals the progress information technology (IT) has made within the healthcare industry. The technology that allowed providers to digitize health records was first referred to as an EMR.

The first IT systems were developed primarily for the medical industry to store thousands of medical records more efficiently by turning printed or written documents into digital copies. Today, EMR is an antiquated acronym representing the earlier developments in health information technology, while EHR is representative of the many modern advancements.

In 2004 the Office of the National Coordinator for Information Technology (ONC) was created “as a resource to the entire health system to support the adoption of health information technology and the promotion of nationwide health information exchange to improve health care” (healthit.gov). The ONC is mostly responsible for the increased use of EHR over EMR due to its coordinated effort to implement advanced health information technology and the exchange of health information nationwide.

The ONC distinguishes between EMR and EHR with the following description (see healthit.gov):

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are digital versions of the paper charts in clinician offices, clinics, and hospitals. EMRs contain notes and information collected by and for the clinicians in that office, clinic, or hospital and are mostly used by providers for diagnosis and treatment. EMRs are more valuable than paper records because they enable providers to track data over time, identify patients for preventive visits and screenings, monitor patients, and improve healthcare quality.

Electronic health records (EHRs) are built to go beyond standard clinical data collected in a provider’s office and are inclusive of a broader view of a patient’s care. EHRs contain information from all the clinicians involved in a patient’s care and all authorized clinicians involved in a patient’s care can access the information to provide care to that patient. EHRs also share information with other health care providers, such as laboratories and specialists. EHRs follow patients – to the specialist, the hospital, the nursing home, or even across the country.

“Health” as opposed to “medical” is a much broader term that encompasses the breadth and width of the latest information technology. While the medical record relates to the clinical diagnosis and treatment within a single practice or hospital, the health record is a more complete representation of a patient’s health that conforms to the nationally recognized interoperability standards.

More than merely the preservation of data, an EHR allows for the structured formatting of the data pertaining to medications, allergies, treatment plans, lab results, etc. EHRs contain evidence-based tools and assessments for better decision-making regarding diagnosis and treatment. EHRs help manage clinical workflows through an interactive interface that engages the provider in offering better care by way of on-screen alerts or prompts.

There are many more helpful features offered by modern EHR systems that improve health care. It is the reason why Medicaid and Medicare Incentive Programs have required that eligible EHRs be Certified Electronic Health Record Technology (CEHRT). The National Alliance for Health Information Technology states that such EHR system data “can be created, managed, and consulted by authorized clinicians and staff across more than one healthcare organization.” An ONC certification ensures that an EHR system is designed to promote interoperability between other providers and sources. These certified EHR systems also meet the meaningful use standards where EMR systems do not.

EHRs like Zoobook Systems have many added capabilities. Among them are comprehensive HIPAA compliant security, patient portals, analytics, reports, integrated billing, and interfacing with labs. Certified EHR systems keep the patient data secure even in transmission between providers. Patients can access their data and add to the record where needed through secure online patient portals. Important analytics and reports can be drawn from the clinical data. This feature is becoming increasingly vital as the industry follows Medicaid and Medicare toward value-based care. Integrated billing and bi-directional lab interface are the latest benefits an EHR can offer for streamlining workflows.

There is a big difference between an EMR and an EHR. The difference is important for providers to know.

Increase Telehealth Use Among Clients

Increase Telehealth Use Among Your Clients

Many people, especially the younger generations, prefer convenience over traditional face to face interaction. And most can agree that not having to leave your house or deal with waiting rooms is quite beneficial. For those who use telehealth, there is a very high satisfaction rate. However, the problem is that only 19% of the population uses telehealth when it is offered by their provider. As the need for telehealth skyrockets during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important as clinicians to identify and address barriers preventing patients from adopting telehealth services, as well as what clinicians can do to get more patients on board.

1. Increase Awareness

One of the main reasons telehealth is not seeing the use it could is because many patients simply are not aware of the option available to them, especially if they have not been informed by their routine provider. As a trusted professional, a clinician informing his or her patient about the ability to meet remotely is much more likely to encourage them to use it than hearing about it from anyone else. Worrying about whether their insurance will cover them is an obstacle holding patients back from using telehealth, so being informed by their insurer or employer could also help increase adoption of these services.

Referrals work wonders in increasing telehealth use. Whenever possible, clinicians and their administrative staff should try to raise awareness of telehealth options by spreading the word to their families and friends, especially during a time where the healthcare field is being overwhelmed by risky in-person visits.

Marketing is crucial in informing patients about the benefits of telehealth. Digital marketing ads or email campaigns targeting relevant populations can help boost adoption. Social media has a massive influence on society, so spreading awareness via social media campaigns is another option to increase telehealth use. Ways of giving feedback, such as online surveys or ratings, can help spread the word as well.

2. Ensure Quality of Care

A common misconception about telehealth is that the quality of care received will be lower due to communication barriers. Research suggests, however, that the quality of care using telehealth is just as effective, if not better, when compared with face to face visits. Studies conducted on the effectiveness of telehealth and telemedicine as an evidence-based treatment have observed higher patient loyalty to providers. Possible reasons for higher quality of care include less distraction for both patient and provider as well as better access and more consistent engagement. Patients must be aware if their providers have a telehealth option, as they will be able to continue receiving care from the same clinician, which will help preserve quality of care.

3. Emphasize Convenience

Convenience is the number one benefit telehealth has over an in-person visit, which is the reason telehealth was developed. Being able to talk in real-time with a provider from the comfort of their own homes, eliminate travel time and costs, avoid a crowded waiting room, and set an appointment with flexible hours are what make telehealth worth using. When learning about what it is, patients should also be made aware of these strengths, along with the fact that it is safe. During these uncertain and scary times, safety is of the utmost importance. Speaking with a clinician over video chat, over the phone, or over text, allows the patient to minimize their risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19.

Now, more than ever in the history of telehealth, there is a need to access these services. It should be as simple as possible to access as well. Mobile friendliness is a feature that makes telehealth more accessible. Many platforms allow you to do this while remaining secure and HIPAA compliant. Zoobook Systems in particular allows access via smartphone without the need to download an app from the app store; with the click of a link the patient is instantly connected. If you are a provider with the ability to treat patients with telemedicine, it will help for your patients to realize how easily they can access this type of care, as well as its benefits.


Many providers are opting for FREE or cheap telehealth platforms with low resolution video, low security encryption, and unreliable connections. This is the next crisis on the horizon related to telehealth – quality of experience. Zoobook provides a telehealth platform that is fully integrated with our EHR enabling clinicians to access clinical documents during the session. Zoobook’s Telehealth feature provides 4K hi-resolution video with error resilience technology meaning video continues even in low bandwidth areas (great for mobile users). Ease of use is paramount – most users can access sessions easily from their phone or computer by simply clicking a link – no apps to add. Both Hippa and SOC 2 compliant, Zoobook’s Telehealth feature has 256-bit encryption for the highest security. Provide your clients with the best user experience.


Breaking Misconceptions About Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Drug Addiction

There has been an ongoing debate about the efficacy of using Medication Assisted Treatment or MAT in managing substance abuse among drug addicts, particularly those who have developed high-risk opioid dependence. Despite evidence-based practices that have shown MAT as an effective form of therapy for drug addiction and substance use disorders, there are still misconceptions and myths propagated by those who argue that MAT is simply substituting other addictive drugs for opiate addiction.

It’s high time that these misconceptions and myths are addressed to maximize the potentials of using MAT in successfully overcoming patients’ opioid dependence and maintaining their long-term recovery.

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Opioid abuse involves persons who have developed an addiction to opiates that include prescription painkillers and pain relievers such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, as well as the illicit drug heroin and opioid synthetics like Fentanyl.

In helping combat opioid addiction, MAT is used along with comprehensive behavioral therapy and support in customizing medications to address a drug addict’s cravings, withdrawal, and relapse prevention. MAT includes the use of anti-craving medications such as buprenorphine (Suboxone) and methadone, or opioid effect blockers like naltrexone (Vivitrol).

Buprenorphine and methadone have consistently been proven effective in treating opioid dependence. Naltrexone has also become vital in preventing opioid overdose and death. Therefore, increased access to these medication-assisted treatments for opioid use disorders is critical in curbing the rising opioid abuse epidemic.

According to Michael Botticelli, former Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, MAT saves lives “while increasing the chances a person will remain in treatment, learn the skills, and build the networks necessary for long-term recovery.”

Busting the Myths

  • It is not true that MAT introduces another drug addiction in treating opioid dependence. Evidence-based research shows that comprehensive drug addiction treatment plans using a combination of medication and behavioral therapy can successfully treat substance abuse disorders and help sustain long-term recovery.
  • MAT does not increase the risk of drug overdose. In fact, it prevents overdoses in patients by achieving detoxification faster and helping in addiction recovery by improving their quality of life, functionality, and their ability to handle stress better. MAT has also been proven to reduce the risk of death as patients begin their recovery.
  • The claim that there’s no proof to MAT’s greater effectivity over abstinence is false. In fact, according to the National Council for Behavioral Health, MAT is recommended as the first line of treatment for opioid addiction by The National Institute of Drug Abuse, Americal Medical Association, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and other agencies that promote evidence-based studies on MAT as a successful solution for opioid dependence.

How Drug Addiction Treatment Facilities Can Maximize MAT

Behavioral and drug addiction treatment clinics can maximize the use of MAT with reliable clinical workflow tools such as the Zoobook EHR. This powerful EHR system provides digital versions of patients’ treatment plans that can efficiently plot out a patient’s therapy and medication schedules, set reminders for doctors and therapists, report patient updates in real-time, and monitor patient recovery remotely through digital gadgets and telemedicine.

For a FREE demo on how the Zoobook EHR can best help your agency integrate MAT in your clinical processes, call 1-800-995-6997 or visit www.zoobooksystems.com for more information.

The Significance of ONC-ACB Certified EHR

Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems have undoubtedly improved the management and administration of healthcare facilities everywhere. EHRs allow healthcare providers to better organize patients’ treatment and records, minimizes paperwork, and simplifies the workflow of the healthcare program.

However, increasing demand for EHRs has led to the proliferation of companies selling systems without any proof of quality. Taking advantage of the boom, these so-called EHR providers pitch their products to healthcare facilities as completely safe, reliable, and able to meet provider needs both now and in the future. These EHRs lack ONC-ACB Health IT Certification. Understanding what this important certification is and its significance to your agency’s functioning is critical when deciding on the electronic healthcare record for your business.

What is the ONC-ACB Health IT Certification Program?

To start, electronic healthcare record certification is administered through the Health IT Certification Program, operated by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The ONC is within the Office of the Secretary for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and was established through executive order in 2004 and legislatively mandated in 2009 through the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act). The ONC partners with several organizations in imposing strict requirements to ensure an EHR system is fully functional, has safeguards against privacy and security concerns, and does not pose a threat to public health and safety.

At this time, application to become certified is voluntary. The certification process involves multiple functionality demonstrations, attestations regarding system integrity and security, and thorough documentation regarding system design and testing. EHR system providers that pass the requirements are awarded a health IT certification by an ONC-Authorized Certification Body (ONC-ACB). To keep the certification, an EHR system provider must ensure that its product continuously maintains the standards required under the program and must submit regular reports to their certification body. The certification process is labor-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive for electronic healthcare record providers- which is why many choose not to do it. This is also why those who successfully pass are considered to be among the best electronic healthcare records.

Benefits of ONC-ACB Certification

An EHR system with an ONC-ACB certification benefits both health facilities and the public alike.

For behavioral healthcare providers, use of an ONC-ACB certified EHR system ensures your product meets government-prescribed, normalized and validated industry standards. Use of the record will also improve efficient management of your agency, as demonstrable efficiency improvements are part of the certification process. Cost transparency is part of the certification process, so providers are assured of “no hidden fees” or other charges when signing with a vendor. Use of an ONC-ACB certified EHR also allows providers access to current and future federal funding initiatives whose access is predicated on their adoption.

For the public, the clients served by a behavioral healthcare provider, ONC-ACB Certification is equally desirable. Most important is the guarantee that their data is secured safely, meeting numerous federal guidelines and regulations. They also know their data can be transferred to a new provider or clinician, should provider be using an ONC-ACB certified system. Their care management can also be more efficiently and effectively managed, as a certified system has interoperability requirements to allow electronic data transmission between providers to improve the quality of care.

Risks of Getting an EHR System without an ONC-ACB Certification

Behavioral healthcare programs face a myriad of risks should they choose to get an EHR system without ONC-ACB certification. First, the risk to their patient data is enormous- there is no authority or oversight body ensuring the data is stored properly and securely, both from hackers and natural disasters. Penalties for unlawful disclosure can be substantial, and that does not include lawsuits from the clients themselves. Second, while many providers cite cost as a reason for not using an ONC-ACB certified system, the reality is the savings that will come from increased efficiencies and improved capacities far outweigh the upfront charges. Using a system without ONC-ACB certification can cost far more in the long-term from lost revenue opportunities, data transmission problems, hidden fees, and security breaches. Finally, while an electronic record without certification can claim to help lessen staffs’ workload, only ONC-ACB certified systems have proven their use will result in fewer patient errors and less administrative work, leading to better- and verifiable- patient care outcomes.

Bottom Line: Get an ONC-ACB Certified EHR System

ONC-ACB Certification is the gold standard seal of quality for electronic healthcare records. Your clients will know you care enough for them to invest in a quality program to protect and manage their care. You can rest knowing your data is safe and your agency has made a wise investment in its future.




For more Information and FREE consultation please call Zoobook Systems LLC at 1-800-995-6997