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Chapter 2. Definitions and current practices

A search on the Web turns up many ways to characterize both an Electronic Health Record (EHR) system and an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) system (see Appendix C for industry definitions). Reconciling these characterizations and choosing one or two from among them as the focus of a particular effort requires an understanding of the core components of each. To further complicate the process, a review of the definitions and characterizations uncovered that the distinction between the two is not as clear as expected. Some imply that an EHR is built on an EMR, others suggest that the functionality of an EHR exists in a modern EMR system. Many characterize the difference in terms of how the information within the system can be used. For the purpose of this project two definitions were chosen from among many as tools to focus discussion.