EHR vs EMR: key differences 
every provider should consider

EHR vs EMR: key differences every provider should consider

April 29, 2023

EMR vs EHR: differences and similarities

While both EHR and EMR are used to keep patients’ medical information, they have important distinctions in their functionality and other aspects.


Stores patients’ demographics, data from RPM devices, medical images, and other information
Integrated with hospital software and patient tools
Shared with other providers and patients
Typically cloud-based


Practice- or specialist-specific
Records are not shared outside of the practice
Inaccessible to patients
Typically on-premise
Stores patients’ medical records
Complies with security regulations for medical data storage






Patient’s full health history, including medical devices readings, notes from nurses and other specialists, medical images, lab results, etc.

Patient’s medical history within a single practice: symptoms, diagnostic procedures, and treatment logs.

Data sharing



Patient data is shared among different practitioners and can be viewed and edited by patients themselves or their caregivers.

Patient data is kept within a particular practice and isn’t shared with other healthcare organizations.




Used to store and manage patients' health, demographic, and insurance information. Can include features for appointment scheduling and analysis of patient conditions.

Used to store and manage patient’s medical information and usually has no other capabilities.




Often integrated with other healthcare software and third-party analytical and payment apps.

Rarely integrated with other software.

Model of deployment



More often cloud-based

More often on-premise

Security and compliance



While both systems sufficiently protect patient personal information, EHRs should adhere to more data management regulations as it shares data with other systems.

EHR and EMR use cases: success stories

A telemedicine-ready EHR

Itransition collaborated with Triptych Technologies Inc. to bring to life their innovative idea of a next-generation EHR. The solution named Sapiocare doesn’t merely keep medical records but also automates appointment scheduling and billing report generation. The software is also integrated with a system for secure telehealth consultations and equipped with NLP, voice and handwriting recognition, and clinical text analysis solutions for voice-only or smart pen and paper data input. Such rich functionality makes patient data acquisition easier for medical professionals at any point of care and facilitates secure data exchange among them.

Image title: Sapiocare interface: patient details
Data source: — Telemedicine-ready EHR

A telemedicine-ready EHR

What should you choose, EHR or EMR?

Ask our experts

EHR & EMR advantages

Both EMR and EHR help enhance medical personnel’s efficiency, optimize resources, and improve data security. However, EHR has many exclusive benefits that EMR doesn’t possess, while EMR costs less than EHR.

Common benefits
  • Quick medical history access
  • Paperwork automation
  • Unauthorized access restriction
  • Safeguards against data tampering
  • Data duplication prevention
  • Treatment plan conflicts prevention
EHR benefits
  • 24/7 information access
  • Easy appointment scheduling
  • Better inter-departmental coordination
  • Lower care costs
  • Streamlined billing
  • Faster emergency care
  • Improved clinical decisions
  • Population engagement and education
  • Eligibility for Medicare and Medicaid

Six steps to choose the right EHR/EMR solution

A properly chosen and implemented EMR/EHR system can recover its cost for healthcare providers within 2.5 years after the implementation, while an ill-fitted solution can cause staff burnout, waste of resources and finances, and complicate workflows. We recommend the following six-step guide for selecting the most suitable EMR/EHR software:


Understand your needs

Realistically determine the workflows you want to optimize with the help of EMR/EHR and create a list of requirements for the solution’s functionality. Do not opt for a set of “nice to have” features; instead, pick only those relevant to your practice.


Choose the type of solution

If your primary goal is to keep your patients’ medical records and you’re not interested in connecting your system to other healthcare software or transforming other clinical workflows, it is easier and cheaper to get an EMR solution.


Consider certified EHRs

If you’re a US-based healthcare practitioner, your system should meet basic requirements determined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In other countries, there are similar regulations hospitals must meet to ensure systems’ reliability and security.


Research use cases similar to yours

This way, you’ll understand how the particular solutions would work for your organization as well as learn possible challenges and how to mitigate them beforehand.


Consider the costs

The cost of EHR and EMR can vary significantly based on the functionality, so while making sure to implement all the necessary features, still keep track of how it fits your budget.


Talk to your vendor of choice

At this point, you can request a demo to see the solution in action and estimate how it would fit in with your workflows, discuss the possible customizations and integrations with the vendor, and negotiate training and support conditions.

How to overcome EHR/EMR-related challenges

Electronic health records software has limitations and challenges that can disrupt its adoption and usage. Learn how experts at Itransition eliminate these EMR/EHR implementation barriers.




The healthcare industry has suffered from expensive data breaches in the last few years, and EHRs are among their main targets.



EHRs and EMRs are safer than paper records, but only if the electronic records management software you use is developed according to the industry’s security protocols, standards, and regulations. Besides, a well-implemented data governance strategy helps keep patients' medical histories and other data protected.


EHRs may cause alert fatigue and increase medical professionals’ burnout risks.



This is true for EHRs that overload users with cluttered interfaces or unnecessary features. To prevent this, healthcare providers should choose systems with features most suitable to their particular practice or opt for a custom EHR solution.


In case of a power outage or connectivity disruption, patients’ health history stored in EHR/EMR becomes unreachable.



In such cases, EHR backup on an external server and/or access from devices outside of the facility is critical. Additionally, healthcare organizations should build an appropriate emergency response strategy that includes quick EHR recovery.

EHR vs. EMR: how much does each cost?

EHR vs. EMR: how much does each cost?

According to ONC, electronic health records’ cost ranges between $15,000 and $70,000. However, there are other systems that come at a much lower price: some Allscripts plans start from $150, CareCloud’s basic EHR costs $349, and open-source software comes almost free. At the same time, the price for custom-built EHRs for large enterprises may reach up to $500,000. EMRs are typically cheaper, costing around $500 per month on average.

There are five major factors influencing EHR adoption costs: possible hardware or network updates, deployment model, type and number of features, integration complexity, required personnel training, and post-implementation support services.

EHR vs. EMR: how much does each cost?

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Implementation tips

What’s the difference between a failed and a successful EMR/EHR implementation? A properly implemented system brings numerous business benefits, enhances patients’ and personnel’s satisfaction, and contributes to interoperability in the healthcare industry. In contrast, a poorly implemented system is unprofitable, difficult to use for specialists and confusing for patients, lacks interoperability, and breaks down often.

Successful EHR/EMR implementation

Medical specialists’ involvement

Workflow mapping

Thorough personnel training

Secure and accurate data migration

Ongoing usability improvements

Clear and detailed implementation roadmap

Say goodbye to paper records with EMR or EHR

The difference between EHR and EMR lies primarily in each system’s capabilities and limitations, their compatibility and interoperability with other healthcare software, and their price. Still, they are based on similar technology, and both benefit medical care providers. When faced with an EHR or EMR choice, healthcare providers should reach out to experts to advise the type of solution most fitting for their practice or even provide further implementation support.