What is EHR?

Electronic Health Record (EHR) is an evolving concept perceived as a set of information about the health of one person or population. It contains digital records (or a record) that can be exchanged between various medical institutions and can be seen in different information systems. These records may contain demographic data, patient treatment history, allergies, prescribed medications, tests, immunization status, radiographic images, vital signs, payment history etc.

EHR advantages:

  • lower treatment costs;
  • higher quality of health care services;
  • promotion of evidence-based medicine;
  • safe and mobile records.

EHR disadvantages:

  • high software development and installation costs;
  • long implementation time.

Compared to conventional operation of medical institutions where the majority of information storing and searching activities are done manually by using patient cards and other hard copy documents, HER has many advantages that are listed in the table below:

Hard copy data storage


Errors may occur while handling the cards (in 1 of 7 cases patients are hospitalized due to lost clinical data). Electronic cards are recorded in the server and can be accessed immediately.
Waste of time finding cards and filling them in. Cards are filled in and recorded immediately.
A hard copy card can be used only by one person at a time. Several persons can view and update the card simultaneously.
Cards can be lost. Electronic records cannot be lost.
Preventive measures are rarely indicated in the cards. Preventive measures are often complex and hard to remember (according to survey results only 55% of recommended preventive measures are used among US patients. E-card can be related to the preventive measure; the card is updated with the change of information on preventive measures.
Patient’s characteristics are hard to determine and take much time. Patient’s characteristics are easily found and are related with the patient’s medical history.
Physicians must make decisions and choose prophylactic measures basing on their memory Clinical decision support tools can warn physicians about drug interaction, dosage  and suitability for the treatment of certain disease.
When drugs are withdrawn from the market or replaced, it is hard to find the patients to whom the drugs were prescribed. Patients to whom the drugs in question were prescribed are found immediately.
Hard to use in the treatment of chronic diseases. When the patient’s records are reviewed after the change of clinical data, information about treatment measures is retrieved immediately.
Patient groups or samples are collected and handled manually or via patient registers. Patient groups or samples can be collected and handled automatically.
Clinical staff send handwritten notes or call patients  to remind about appointments. Appointments can be reminded automatically.
Planning takes time of the staff. Planning can be done automatically or patients can plan their visits and other actions.
Insurance cards are copied and insurance information is indexed. Insurance cards are scanned and immediately uploaded into the system.
Hard copy information needs storing place. Electronic information is stored in the server.