What Is an Ambulatory EHR?

A. Leverkuhn

An ambulatory electronic health record, or ambulatory EHR, is a specific kind of digital document that can be easily transported. These documents are part of ambulatory EHR systems, which provide mobility through the use of wireless devices. By contrast, non-ambulatory EHR systems may require installation of workstations in various rooms of a hospital or other health care facility.

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities benefit greatly from EHR and EMR systems.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities benefit greatly from EHR and EMR systems.

The ambulatory EHR is a specific kind of medical record. Experts compare the EHR to an electronic medical record, or EMR. The main difference is that the EHR is considered a more “global” record. Expert resources define the EHR as “an aggregate” medical record that shows all sorts of health related information. The EHR is often transferred between facilities and providers, where the EMR is usually restricted to only one provider.

Ambulatory EHRs can be accessed and updated using tablets and other wireless devices.
Ambulatory EHRs can be accessed and updated using tablets and other wireless devices.

Hospitals and other healthcare facilities benefit greatly from EHR and EMR systems. Digital archival places systems for handling bulky stacks of paper documents. Storage is much easier with EHRs and digital systems. There can also be more security and accountability for documents, although some challenges related to cyber security and authentication of digital documents can apply to EHR systems. In general, health providers are finding that using EHR systems can lower costs, provide better outcomes regarding liability, and generally improve the efficiency and operation of a health care system.

The specific use of the ambulatory EHR represents the pinnacle of modern technology applied to health care. The benefits of ambulatory EHRs include easier progress through each level or department of a provider facility. There is also more versatility in the ways that various medical professionals, from doctors and nurses to technicians and clerical workers, can handle the medical records. Portability is becoming a desirable aspect of electronic records keeping, especially when the patient needs access to the documents. Patients who may have very limited mobility can get access to a wireless tablet or other device, where it may be a challenge to provide the same access to a non-ambulatory EHR system.

The companies that make health care software and tools are largely considering a broader move toward offering the ambulatory EHR. As more and more health care providers make their way to digital record keeping, it’s anticipated that the EHR will become more popular as a standardized record that can be moved from one provider to another.

Many clinics use electronic health record systems that are both ambulatory and accessible by computer.
Many clinics use electronic health record systems that are both ambulatory and accessible by computer.

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