Electronic Health Record (EHR) Information

An Electronic Health Record (EHR) is the health record of an individual with current information that can be used by health care providers to provide high quality health care. Minnesota law requires all health care providers to have an interoperable EHR by 2015. When interoperable within one or more health care systems, EHRs can electronically move information securely between doctors, hospitals and other health care providers when it is needed for a patient’s care.

Information and resources intended to support the implementation of health information technology (HIT) including EHRs:

  • Electronic Prescribing
  • Fact Sheets, Guides and Other Reports
  • Financing/Funding Resources
  • Health Information Exchange (HIE)
  • Meaningful use
  • Patient Engagement
  • Privacy and security
  • Minnesota’s Regional Extension and Assistance Center for HIT (REACH)
  • Standards
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What is an Electronic Health Record (EHR)?
    An electronic health record, or EHR, is the health record of an individual stored in and accessed with a computer. The EHR has current medical information that can be used by health care providers in a variety of settings such as your primary care physician's office, a long-term care facility or even a local public health department. 

    What is included in an EHR?
    An EHR contains all of an individual’s health information that would have been included in a typical paper chart in a health care provider’s office. This includes medical history, medications, allergies, immunization dates, lab and test results and more.

    What is the difference between a personal health record and an electronic health record?
    A personal health record, or PHR, is usually organized and updated on a computer by the patient or individual. It can include all of the same information as is in the electronic health record, or EHR.  PHRs can be standalone records that an individual uses, updates and keeps regardless of health insurance or health care provider type or location. Other types of PHRs are actually connected (tethered) to the EHR offered by a health care provider. This type of PHR can be updated by both the patient and the provider and would stay with the patient only while utilizing that health insurance/provider system.

    The EHR is set up and updated only in the health care setting. A patient may request to view the information in the EHR system but health care professionals are responsible for updating and maintaining the information. The patient is generally not able to electronically add information to the EHR.

    How will EHRs improve health care?
    When EHRs are interoperable, or able to be shared and used between different health care providers and systems, a patient’s health information can be available, with appropriate patient consent, when needed at the point of care regardless of geographic location.

    How is the private health information stored in an EHR protected?
    Organizations using electronic health record systems are able to protect patient information in more ways than if they used a paper record system. For instance, many EHR systems have the ability to monitor which health care professionals are accessing patient information and when. Access can even be limited to only certain authorized individuals. In addition, health information can be encrypted so that it cannot be read by an unauthorized viewer. When a patient authorizes the exchange of health information between providers or health care settings, it is encrypted first.   

    Other FAQs

    Visit a national website for patient and families with questions about health IT, http://www.healthit.gov/patients-families/frequently-asked-questions.

    Find out more about health information exchange, or HIE, at the HIE FAQ page.

    Guides for Implementing EHRs in Minnesota

    For more information and details on the adoption and effective use of EHRs in Minnesota, see “A Prescription for Meeting Minnesota’s 2015 Interoperable Electronic Health Record Mandate” as well as the four practical guides addressing topics such as “Addressing Common Barriers” and “Effective Use of EHRs.”


    Updated Monday, 14-Oct-2013 07:32:48 CDT