An electronic health record, or EHR and also known as electronic patient record or computerized patient record, is a progressing idea defined as a methodical collection of health information of patients in electronic format. It is a file in digital form, capable of being distributed over different health care organizations, by embedding it with various protocols of network-connected and enterprise-wide information systems.
Such records may consist of whole range of data in either detailed or summarized forms, including demographics, medical history, medications underwent, allergies, status of immunization, results from examinations conducted by laboratories, radiology images and billing information.
The main principle can be understood as a complete documentation of patient medical experiences and encounters, which permits full automation and streamlining of the workflow in health care systems and improves safety through decision support with stressed basis on evidences, and outcome reports.
However, to date, the terms electronic health record and electronic medical record are frequently used interchangeably, even though one has a big difference from the other. Electronic medical records can be defined as the legal patient documentation issued in hospitals and other ambulatory environments, and serves as the data source for electronic health records.
It is utterly important to bear in mind that electronic health records are conceptualized, generated and maintained within a medical institution, such as a hospital, clinic, or a physicians office, to give access to patients, physicians and other health care personnel, employers, payers, or insurers to a patients medical records across different amenities.
Within a self-narrative systematic research in the field, experts defined a number of different philosophical approaches to electronic health records. The health information systems literature has looked upon electronic health records as containers holding valuable information about the patient, and an instrument for collating clinical dates for auditing, billing, and other relative uses for medical documentation. However, other research traditions looked down at electronic health records as contextualized artifacts within socio-technical systems. For instance, actor-network theory would regard electronic health records as actants in a network, while studies in computer-supported cooperative networks, or CSCW, sees electronic health records as tools for supporting specialized work.
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