What Is the Difference Between EHR and Clinical Data Systems?

An electronic health record (EHR) is a comprehensive record of a patient detailing their health status. Clinical data, on the other hand, is the record containing the most important information about a patient’s health status, including health determinants, measures of health, and health status.

If you have good systems in place, your data extraction processes will be swift and effective because you already know which records to focus on. 

Whether your organization is using the HCC risk adjustment model or not, it’s also important to have a good data-sourcing system in place. In this post, we’ll dive into the differences between an EHR and a clinical data system.

What Is an EHR System?

An EHR is the digital paper chart of a patient showing their medical and treatment history. Unlike a clinical data system, an EHR offers a detailed overview of a patient’s health status.

For instance, it offers a comprehensive view of the patient’s treatment history. This makes an EHR one of the most important elements of healthcare assessment and risk adjustment.

A standard EHR should contain the patient’s: 

  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment plans
  • Medical history
  • Medication 
  • Radiology images
  • Lab and test results
  • Immunization dates
  • Allergies

It should also provide you with access to evidence and tools needed to make informed decisions about the patient’s treatment. With this in mind, an EHR can automate and rationalize a provider’s workflow, allowing them to accomplish tasks efficiently and effectively.

Primary Features of an EHR

As a healthcare provider, you should have an EHR system to help you review your patient’s information and make important decisions about their healthcare plans in a timely manner. 

Here are the main features you should prioritize when selecting an EHR for your facility:

User Interface

Your employees are always busy caring for patients and ensuring that everything in the facility flows smoothly. So, make sure they don’t waste time trying to figure out how to use your EHR system by choosing one with a user-friendly interface that’s easy to navigate.


An EHR system should be compatible with other existing devices in your health facility, including mobile devices and web browsers. It should allow you to access the information you need and continue working even when you’re away from your workstation.

Patient Scheduling

Your EHR system should allow you to schedule your patients’ appointments effortlessly. For instance, it should be able to send out appointments and reminders to patients automatically for an enhanced collection process. This will help patients organize their healthcare scheduling.

Cloud Services

Most of the latest models of EHR systems are cloud-based, providing you with simple and quick implementation, as well as reduced cost and maintenance. A cloud-based EHR system offers you excellent accessibility and it’s easy to scale up.

What Is Clinical Data?

Clinical data is a collection or record of information related to a patient’s diagnosis, demographics (age and gender), lab tests, family relationships, and exposures. This data contains important details about a patient’s health care, including health determinants, measures of health, and health status. These details are recorded for various reasons, including medical coding and risk adjustment.

Advancing healthcare information technology (HIT) and analytics tools have helped healthcare providers obtain insightful data that they can use to fill considerable knowledge gaps in the industry.

Experts in the healthcare sector view clinical data as a building block for understanding health systems by performing the necessary evaluations and estimations of healthcare resource utilization. For instance, you can use the available clinical data to predict your patient’s future healthcare spending.

Differences Between EHR and Clinical Data Systems

Although EHR and clinical data systems seem to perform similar functions, they differ in scale, specificity, and purpose. Here are the main differences between the two systems:


EHR systems are known for their all-purpose nature that enables them to hold a wide range of information about a patient. They are used in both complex and surface-level health conversations.

Clinical data systems, on the other hand, aren’t as detailed as EHRs–but they also contain critical details about a patient’s medical history, diagnoses, and treatment.


As noted above, EHRs hold a significantly larger amount of patient data than clinical data systems. The information found in a standard EHR system covers a wide range of topics and fields related to healthcare.


Clinical data systems contain very specific details about the patient, while EHRs have a wide range of information about the patient. Both systems obtain their data from multiple sources.

Lastly, if you want solutions that will improve your ability to review your patient’s healthcare data, consult with the experts at Inferscience. Inferscience offers advanced solutions that integrate with the top EHRs to evaluate patient records and claims for more informed decisions.






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