6 Terms Related to the Electronic Health Record

Acronyms abound in the healthcare industry, sometimes making it difficult to keep terms straight, especially with those related to the electronic health record. Here are the meanings of several acronyms you should be familiar with.


Electronic Health Record (EHR)

Electronic Health Record

BSIP / UIG / Getty Images

The term electronic health record (EHR) is the most common term used to describe the process of capturing, storing, and accessing a patient's electronic medical record. The basic concept of the electronic health record is to make medical records easier to share and integrate across multiple providers. The electronic health record encompasses the full range of capabilities and information of a patient record including:

  • Patient demographics
  • Progress notes
  • Diagnosis, symptoms, and complaints
  • Vital signs
  • Prescriptions, medications, and immunizations
  • Medical history
  • Laboratory and radiology reports
  • Scheduling and appointments
  • Procedure and office visit level coding

The main feature of the electronic health record is its ability to share patient data electronically between providers. EHR also allows providers to create, manage, and review patient data across different healthcare organizations. A patient's health record can follow them to specialists, or other healthcare providers and even across state lines.


Electronic Medical Record (EMR)

technician looking over medical imagery

Eric Audras / Getty Images

In the past, the terms electronic medical record (EMR) and electronic health record (EHR) were interchangeable. As the electronic health record continued to develop and evolve over time, the electronic medical record became sort of a second-class version of the more advanced, fully functional electronic health record. The biggest difference between the EHR and the EMR is that providers can not share patient data electronically. Unlike the electronic health record, the electronic medical record does not offer providers the ability to share patient information with outside providers. The record would have to be printed ​on paper in order to share information. It also does not have certain functions related to personal health records, continuity of care, and disease management.

The main feature of the electronic medical record is the ability to assist providers in patient diagnosis and treatment. EMR also tracks patient data, tracks preventative visits and screenings, monitors patient diagnostic measures, and improves quality of care. 


Personal Health Record (PHR)

Doctors discussing patient record

Ariel Skelley / Getty Images

A personal health record (PHR) is an Internet-based interactive health record that allows patients to access lab and radiology records, request or schedule appointments, and request medication refills. Depending on the type of access allowed by the provider, patients may also be able to update demographic and insurance information, make payments and even read their entire medical record.


Continuity of Care Record (CCR)

Nurse and doctor looking over tablet

Ron Levine / Getty Images

The continuity of care record (CCR) is a component of the electronic health record. The CCR is the shared part of the patient record that improves continuity of patient care from one provider to another. This shared record includes the most relevant data regarding the patient's current condition and treatment plan.


Computer-Based Patient Record (CPR)

Doctor inputting info into tablet

JGI Jamie Grill / Getty Images

The computer-based patient record (CPR) is the term that was used to describe one of the first versions of the electronic health record. The CPR was never fully developed or implemented due to its unrealistic concept. The computer-based patient record was meant to become a lifetime patient record to include a patient's dental records, records from all physicians and specialties, all hospital records and possibly be international. The concept of an all-inclusive computer-based patient record eventually evolved into what we know today as the electronic health record.


Electronic Patient Record (EPR)

Reviewing electronic medical records on a computer screen

Morsa Images / Getty Images

The electronic patient record (EPR) has a similar concept to the computer-based patient record. The electronic patient record, however, is not as all-inclusive as the computer-based patient record because its concept was to only include the patient's relevant medical information which excludes lifetime records, dental records, and behavioral care records.

Was this page helpful?