What Are Electronic Health Records (EHRs)?

EHRs are, at their simplest, digital (computerized) versions of patients' paper charts. But EHRs, when fully up and running, are so much more than that.

EHRs are real-time, patient-centered records. They make information available instantly, "whenever and wherever it is needed". And they bring together in one place everything about a patient's health. EHRs can:

  • Contain information about a patient's medical history, diagnoses, medications, immunization dates, allergies, radiology images, and lab and test results
  • Offer access to evidence-based tools that providers can use in making decisions about a patient's care
  • Automate and streamline providers' workflow
  • Increase organization and accuracy of patient information
  • Support key market changes in payer requirements and consumer expectations

One of the key features of an EHR is that it can be created, managed, and consulted by authorized providers and staff across more than one health care organization.

A single EHR can bring together information from current and past doctors, emergency facilities, school and workplace clinics, pharmacies, laboratories, and medical imaging facilities.

Content last reviewed on March 16, 2018
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