An electronic health record (EHR) refers to an individual patient's medical record in digital format. Electronic health record systems co-ordinate the storage and retrieval of individual records with the aid of computers. EHRs are usually accessed on a computer, often over a network. It may be made up of electronic medical records (EMRs) from many locations and/or sources. Among the many forms of data often included in EMRs are patient demographics, medical history, medicine and allergy lists (including immunization status), laboratory test results, radiology images, billing records and advanced directives.
EHR systems can reduce medical errors. In one ambulatory healthcare study, however, there was no difference in 14 measures, improvement in 2 outcome measures, and worse outcome on 1 measure.
EHR systems are believed to increase physician efficiency and reduce costs, as well as promote standardization of care. Even though EMR systems with computerized provider order entry (CPOE) have existed for more than 30 years, less than 10 percent of hospitals as of 2006 have a fully integrated system.