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EMR & RIS: The Similarity, the Difference and the Perfect Time for Integration

Medical Billing / RCM | Electronic Health Records | Healthcare Advice | Radiology Information System

The Electronic Medical Record

The electronic medical record (EMR) has been evolving from the early days before the technology revolution took off after the turn of the century. The federal mandate that took effect on January 1, 2014, required the medical world to begin using electronic medical records for "meaningful use" as outlined by the mandate.

EMRs vary in software architecture between the healthcare specialties to house their patient demographics, patient visits, in-house and outside reports. Although the technological architectures may be different, the goals are the same in keeping patient records accessible and private. 

  • Accessibility to patient data with password protected access.
  • Better control of patient follow-up appointments.
  • Complete history of patient diagnosis, medical history/conditions, and pharmacy treatments.
  • Patient care is improved with reports, pathologies, imaging and treatments easily accessed.

Before the mandated EMR, billing was also mandated to be sent electronically under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Another area of continual technology advancements in healthcare is the integration between EMRs and medical billing software.  

EMRs are still evolving to meet the challenges and changes in the standards of healthcare. The next big step of EMRs is interoperability.


Interoperability, as found on HIMSS, is the next big push in healthcare to deliver more efficiency in patient care. Having "the ability to share information across multiple technologies" will offer practices and hospitals to create complete patient medical records or better known as patient health records (PHRs). 

The toughest roadblock is finding the way for the many different EMRs to exchange data. Along with the specific data files needing to match for integration, IT staff may have customized software changing the original coding structure. Database communication is just one-third of the hold-up with total integration of patient health information. Money and time are obstacles impeding interoperability.

The Radiology Information System

doctors using Radiology Information System for Electronic medical record

Like the electronic medical record, the radiology information system (RIS) collects patient demographics to start patient flow throughout a radiology department or practice. "Scheduling, patient tracking, results reporting, image tracking, and billing" are the major features of the RIS. 

  • Patients information is retrievable.
  • Patient treatment flow can be tracked to see wait and imaging times.
  • Transmission of images can be sent anywhere needed.
  • Order entry, scheduling, and billing for services are easily captured and processed.

The Main Difference Between the EMR and the RIS

The EMR and the RIS collect the same patient information. Outside reports are entered, or scanned, into the RIS to substantiate the reason for services to be rendered. The RIS is an EMR specifically designed to treat and track a patient in a radiology setting. 

The Future of Imaging in Healthcare

Returning to the idea of interoperability, it makes sense that these two databases should integrate to become one. If you are wondering why EMR and RIS should become integrated, think about the future of imaging in healthcare as reviewed on NCBI. It has an advancing presence in patient care with faster and more precise diagnostics and treatment recommendations. 

Add in the deep learning technology that has developed within artificial intelligence as found on ModernMedicine NETWORK, and we know that radiology will be the "next frontier" to improve patient lives "from image analysis, workflow applications, and later with intelligent medical imaging machines."

Let's refer back up to the HIMSS write-up, open application programming interfaces (APIs) may be the answer to bringing patient medical data altogether. But, what if there are solutions that have been created and designed getting ready for the future?

Medics Suite and MedicsRIS: The Answer to the Complete Electronic Health Record

The team at Advanced Data Systems Corporation already has been working towards the future. Learn more about our Medics Suite and MedicsRIS. Together, we have already have the solutions towards interoperability.

The future is here, and we will continue to advance our software to meet the challenges and changes in the future of healthcare. Our goal is to bring the efficiency necessary to offer the best in patient care while generating more revenue. Contact our team to see how we can be the solution you have been searching for to secure the best in patient care for your practice.

About Advanced Data Systems Corporation

Since 1977, clients have relied on the ADS team and our intelligent automation solutions and services. The MedicsCloud Suite, ADS’s latest generation of rules driven financial, revenue cycle, practice management, clinical charting and reporting, and mobility/engagement platforms, are used by clients to produce maximized revenue and efficiency for their practices, groups, and enterprise networks.

MedicsRCM (ADS RCM) is ideal if comprehensive outsourced revenue cycle management and billing services are preferred. MedicsRCM also uses the MedicsCloud Suite.