A personal health record (PHR) is a collection of your medical history that you keep and maintain. You can have your caregiver manage it for you if you cannot. You can store the data on paper in a folder or an electronic system in a confidential environment.
What Your PHR Contains
Your PHR consists of various information about your overall health. It includes your basic health information, such as:
- Your updated medical history
- Your family’s medical history
- Blood type
- Insurance information
- Person to contact in the event of an emergency
- Names and phone numbers of your doctor
- Contact details of your health providers
It also provides details about illnesses and medical procedures you have undergone:
- Information about your medical or health conditions or diseases
- Chronic health problems
- Information about your visits to doctors or hospitals
- Your historical and ongoing medications (prescribed, over-the-counter, alternative treatments)
- Laboratory and test results
- Records of hospitalization
- Information about your previous medical procedures or surgical interventions
The Importance of Your PHR
PHRs are crucial health documents that help you to:
- Ensure the continuity of your records
- Improve your adherence to follow-ups
- Monitor your vital information such as blood pressure or blood sugar
- Control your existing illnesses
- Comply with your medication regimens
- Track and assess your health
- Manage your health between visits
- Get organized in your health goals, such as tracking appointments, screening services, and vaccinations
How to Manage Your PHR
You control your PHR and manage it manually or through an online tool. You provide the details in the system and update them when necessary. Make it easier by finding an electronic application that helps you maintain it properly.
You can choose who can access your information by providing an ID and a password. You can also pre-approve it so medical personnel can access it during an emergency.
Your Lifelong Document
The medical records that your healthcare personnel maintain are legal papers that prove you obtained medical care. They are different from your PHR.
Your personal record is a collection of information from various sources, including yourself and your healthcare providers. You need to maintain and update it since it is a lifelong document that will serve you well when necessary.
Where to Store Your Health Information
Choose a secure place to store your PHR to keep it safe. Use a reputable system that ensures security and follows industry best practices. You can refer to federal laws that are in place to protect your health records. Ensure that your information is secure.
You can access and control your health information as the Privacy Rule supports the management of your confidential data. If you use an app, check that it is secure to ensure your information remains private. Set it so that it will require users to enter a password to keep it safe from unauthorized use.
Maintain and manage your PHR to make it easy to access your information. Keep your personal health record accurate and updated.
Start building your PHR by collecting and entering all your health data. Update it each time you see a doctor, refill a prescription, undergo a lab test, or go to the hospital or clinic.
In times of emergency, allow your health professionals to access your records. If you need urgent medical attention, your doctors and nurses should be able to access your health information. It will enable them to apply the appropriate treatment. This way, they can help save your life.