Preventing Misunderstood Acronyms from Leading to HIPAA Mistakes

healthcare acronyms

Healthcare acronyms are everywhere – MACRA, EMR, PHI, HIPAA. They can be confusing, and it’s easy to get them mixed up – but using the wrong acronym could lead to HIPAA mistakes. Your providers and staff may use health-related acronyms regularly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are all on the same page – or that any of them are using the acronyms correctly. Read on.

The Danger of Similar Acronyms

Often, you’ll hear people in healthcare using the acronyms EMR and EHR interchangeably; however, they actually mean different things. This is also true of ePHI and PHI — while they are similar, they refer to unique areas of concern under HIPAA.

Below, you’ll find the true definitions for five often mixed-up acronyms.

  •      EMR – Electronic Medical Record. This is the electronic version of a patient’s paper chart, which maintains the patient’s medical and treatment history at that practice only.
  •     EHR – Electronic Health Record. This is also a record of a patient’s health and treatment history, but as opposed to EMR, it extends beyond an individual practice to include all providers and care that a patient has had: hospital visits, lab work, imaging, and more. Clinicians can share an EHR in order to coordinate care.
  •      PHR – Personal Health Record. This tracks a similar batch of information to EMRs and EHRs, but it’s managed by the patient, and usually includes family history and care.
  •      PHI – Protected Health Information. This refers to patient information a provider collects during health interactions in which the patient is personally identified. PHI was originally detailed in the HIPAA Privacy Rule, and it is currently protected under it.
  •      ePHI – Electronic Protected Health Information. This includes all of an individual’s identifiable health information that a healthcare provider creates, receives, maintains, or transmits in electronic form. It is protected under the HIPAA security rule.

Ready to Simplify Your Practice?

Here at Medical Business Management, we understand that clinicians already have their hands full with patients, staff, and of course, acronyms. There’s no need to dedicate even more time and energy to things like coding and billing, which is where we come in. Let us handle these aspects of your clinic so that you can focus on your practice! Contact us today for more information.